Benitez has been at Chelsea for 56 days… and I've NEVER met him! Malouda reveals shock snub as he winds down 100,000-a-week contract
16:15 GMT, 16 January 2013
17:29 GMT, 16 January 2013
Fifty-six days into Rafael Benitez's reign at Chelsea and Florent Malouda has STILL not met the Spaniard.
The French winger was a key part of the Champions League-winning side last season despite being dropped for the final but he was told he was free to leave the club last summer.
A move failed to materialise though and Malouda has made it quite clear he is happy to see out his 100,000-a-week contract at the club, which runs until June.
Surplus: Florent Malouda has not played this season and seems unlikely to return
Malouda was initially frozen out by Roberto Di Matteo and Chelsea interim manager Benitez has been happy to continue that policy since he took over in November.
Malouda has played 149 times for the club since arriving in 2007, scoring 35 goals.
But his involvement in the first team is so minimal that The Times report that when he was quizzed recently on the arrival of Benitez, he replied that he had not even met the Spaniard.
Malouda rejected several offers from Premier League clubs last summer and at one stage looked set for a move to Brazilian side Santos, though they were unable to cover the 32-year-old's wages despite Chelsea being prepared to let him go at a reduced price to free up funds.
Celebrating: Malouda was a key partof Chelsea FA Cup winning team last season
Santos' interest eventually cooled and Malouda was banished to the Chelsea's Under 21 side and not included in their 25-man Premier League squad.
Chelsea have received no interest in him during the transfer window, though it is thought they will accept a cut-price deal or even a free transfer for the former Lyon winger.
'A 12-month pre-season, the best of my life,' Malouda joked recently when asked about his situation.
Malouda has been training and playing with youngsters and it is understood that his behaviour has been impeccable.
New era: Benitez has been slow to use Frank Lampard, let alone going to Malouda