Thuram decides to stick with Les Bleus

24th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 23, 2006 (AFP) - France's most capped international footballer Lilian Thuram is set to extend his record number of caps after announcing on Wednesday he is to prolong his career with the World Cup finalists.

PARIS, Aug 23, 2006 (AFP) - France's most capped international footballer Lilian Thuram is set to extend his record number of caps after announcing on Wednesday he is to prolong his career with the World Cup finalists.

The 34-year-old 121 times capped defender was left out of last week's friendly with Bosnia and Herzegovina while he made up his mind about his future.

However while he was bounced back into the international set up for the latter stages of the 2002 World Cup qualifiers - having announced his retirement from international football - when he was selected without being informed beforehand by coach Raymond Domenech this time he had no doubts.

"I really didn't have much choice because of all the affection and compliments I have received since the World Cup from French supporters whether it be in Africa or in New York," said Thuram, who was a member of the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 winning sides.

"I tried to take a step back, and wait for the emotions to pass before taking my decision with a clearer head because originally my decision was originally not to return to the national side."

Thuram, who moved from disgraced Italian giants Juventus to Barcelona after the World Cup, said that he hoped he could maintain his outstanding level of play which saw him and fellow central defender William Gallas inspire France to the World Cup final.

"I will be there for the first Euro 2008 qualifier (on September 2 against Georgia with a second one four days later in a revenge match with world champions Italy)," said Thuram, who was first capped in 1994 and whose only two goals came in the come from behind 2-1 victory over Croatia in the 1998 World Cup semi-final.

"After that I hope that France will qualify for the finals and I hope I will still be at the top of my game.

"Because it is not a done thing that in two years time I will still be at the same level," added Thuram, who has been linked with a move into politics.

Domenech, who is still waiting for defensive midfielder Claude Makelele to make up his mind about his international future, will unveil his squad on Thursday.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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