France keeper Lloris goes to court over drink-driving charge

James PHEBY
Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris won the World Cup with France

France's World Cup-winning captain Hugo Lloris appeared in court in London on Wednesday over a drink-driving charge after a roadside breathalyser test reportedly caught him nearly three times over the limit.

The Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper has already apologised for what he called his "unacceptable" behaviour.

Lloris was one of the heroes of France's commanding march in Russia to their second football World Cup in 20 years.

The triumph turned Lloris into a French national hero and confirmed his status as one of the most respected goalkeepers in the world.

But the 31-year-old's dream turned into a nightmare when his Porche was pulled over for a routine stop in central London at 2:20am on August 24.

The Daily Mail tabloid said Lloris registered 100 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath in a police check.

The legal driving limit in England in a breathalyser test is 35 microgrammes.

"I wish to apologise wholeheartedly to my family, the club, my teammates, the manager and all of the supporters," Lloris said in a statement.

"Drink-driving is completely unacceptable, I take full responsibility for my actions and it is not the example I wish to set."

Lloris spent seven hours in a cell that night before returning home on foot.

The maximum punishment for drink-driving in Britain is a six-month jail term -- although fines and temporary driving bans are more common.

The married father of two looked stoic and dressed impeccably in a dark suit and blue shirt as he made his way in silence through a crush of reporters into the courtroom.

Lloris missed France's opening games in the inaugural UEFA Nations League.

France coach Didier Deschamps attributed his 'keeper's absence to a thigh injury and gave Lloris his wholehearted support.

"I've spoken with him, he realises his mistake and he's sorry for it," said Deschamps.

"He knows only too well that it shouldn't happen, but it happened and it's not going to change what I think about him and the Hugo Lloris that I've always known."

Lloris was also backed by his London club's manager before their 3-0 win at Manchester United last month.

Tottenham have won three of their first four matches and are currently fifth in the English Premier League.

Lloris was spectacular during the World Cup and gave up no goals in either France's tough quarter-final match-up against Uruguay or their semi-final against a dangerous Belgium side.

He blundered once in the final against Croatia but his team still prevailed 4-2.

Few expect Lloris to go to jail over his first drink-driving offence in England -- but his club have promised to treat the entire matter "extremely seriously".

"The club takes matters such as this extremely seriously and it will be dealt with internally," a Tottenham spokesman said.

Lloris has made 256 appearances with Tottenham since joining from the French club Lyon in 2012.