Patrick Vieira has been left out of the France squad for their next two World Cup qualifiers against Lithuania, coach Raymond Domenech has confirmed.
“I was frank with him. He knows he is not at his best and that his level is not high enough to allow him to play for France,” Domenech told reporters.
“That is why Patrick is not available for now – I insist for now – and I regret that,” he added.
One newcomer in the squad is Toulouse’s Ligue 1 top scorer Andre-Pierre Gignac who was called up for the first time.
France visit Lithuania on March 28 before hosting the Baltic team four days later. Les Bleus are third in Group Seven with four points from three games.
The 32-year-old Vieira, who has 106 caps, has played in just one of the last 14 France games due to injuries.
“He plays at a club where there is stiff competition between midfielders, where he struggles to get his position back,” said Domenech.
“He plays an important role for France. He is our captain. As soon as Patrick is back at his best, he will be with us again.”
Goalkeepers: Cedric Carrasso (Toulouse), Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille).
Defenders: Gael Clichy (Arsenal), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Rod Fanni (Rennes), William Gallas (Arsenal), Philippe Mexes (Roma), Adil Rami (Lille), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Sebastien Squillaci (Sevilla).
Midfielders: Abou Diaby (Arsenal), Alou Diarra (Girondins Bordeaux), Lassana Diarra (Real Madrid), Yoann Gourcuff (Bordeaux), Samir Nasri (Arsenal), Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon).
Forwards: Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), Karim Benzema (Lyon), Jimmy Briand (Rennes), Andre-Pierre Gignac (Toulouse), Thierry Henry (Barcelona), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich).