Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette hits out at president and manager
Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette says he was "hurt and disappointed" by the behaviour of club president Jean-Michel Aulas during contract negotiations this summer.
Lacazette, 24, eventually signed a new deal last month after being named Ligue 1's Player of the Year last season.
The France international led the league with 27 league goals last campaign but he has struggled to rediscover his form amid speculation that the uncertainty over the summer had impacted his game.
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Lacazette confirmed as much on Monday in a remarkably forthright interview in L'Equipe in which he also criticised Lyon manager Hubert Fournier for not doing enough to support him.
"It hurts," the Lyon academy graduate said. "I think that's the right word. When you're a young guy at the club, from the city, who's never behaved badly towards anyone, to be treated like that... yes, it's hurtful.
"I'd just had my best season -- I'd really helped the team to get back into the Champions League."
Lacazette is aggrieved that Aulas had revealed an initial salary offer -- €4 million a year -- in what he believes was a clear attempt by the Lyon president to keep the fans on his side.
"When he speaks, a lot of supporters follow him," Lacazette said. "And when he tells things, seen from his side, he makes you think that the player is in the wrong. Yes, his behaviour hurt and disappointed me."
Lacazette signed a contract extension in September 2014 amid reported interest from Arsenal, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain. However, he thought he had proved his worth to the club following another outstanding season in which Lyon finished as runners-up in Ligue 1.
As a result, the player feels Aulas did not need to reveal his wage demands in public as leverage in the negotiation process.
"I would have preferred that he might act like in every negotiation," he said. "He could have said to me 'it's too much,' simply.
"He could have not employed this method that made me look like someone that I'm not. I had decided to stay -- everything should have been straightforward."
The forward finally got on the scoresheet again in a 1-1 draw against Marseille this month, shortly after missing a crucial penalty in a draw against Gent in the Champions League.
Lacazette struggled with a back problem at the start of the campaign and he said he felt let down by Fournier, including for comments made directly after the Gent match.
"He could have explained what was happening," Lacazette added. "Of course I played some bad matches. You could say that I was rubbish and everything. But I had pains in my back. I wanted to help and it didn't do me any favours.
"I would have preferred that he defend me, that he might show that he was behind me rather than knocking me further and to agree with supporters who were criticising me.
"The simple fact of saying that I had played through some pain would have allowed people to understand that I was trying all the same."