Makelele, Thuram & Sagnol Retire

France veterans Lilian Thuram, Claude Makelele and Willy Sagnol have called time on their international careers following their side’s disappointing exit from EURO 2008…

Les Bleus were beaten 2-0 by archrivals Italy last night to finish bottom of Group C with two defeats, one draw and no wins.

Thuram did not feature against the Azzurri, having had his age and lack of pace cruelly exposed by a rampant Dutch attack as the Netherlands cruised to a 4-1 victory against Raymond Domenech’s men last week.

The former Juventus defender finishes his international career with 142 caps and two goals, both of which were scored in the 1998 World Cup semi-final against Croatia, and claimed the European Championship appearances record when he played his 15th game against Romania.

The 36-year-old is also without a club contract after being released by Barcelona, but the ex-Parma stopper is determined to keep playing professionally.

"After this elimination, I am ending my career with the France team,'' Thuram said. "It is a very important period in my life which is coming to and end. I want to keep playing (club) football, but I don't know where yet.''

No Regrets

Sagnol was also dropped for the clash in Zurich, having backed up his disappointing season at Bayern Munich with a disappointing EURO campaign.

As a result, Makelele was the only retiree to actually take the field against Robert Donadoni’s side at the Letzigrund Stadion, earning his 69th cap before calling curtains on his 13-year international career.

The Chelsea midfielder is certain that the time is right, and believes he and his fellow veterans’ exit will ultimately prove positive for the future of French football.

“I always said this would be my final competition,” said the former Real Madrid man. “I have no regrets at finishing now.

“Most of the decisions I have taken I have always taken 100 percent. I have sweated for this shirt and it has brought me 100 percent happiness, so there are no regrets.

“A new generation can take the reins and come together. I am totally with them.”


More exits could yet be in the offing, as the likes of Internazionale midfielder Patrick Vieira and Lyon goalkeeper Gregory Coupet are also thought to be pondering retirement.

Ex-Arsenal striker Thierry Henry admitted he has considered the possibility of quitting les Bleus, but insisted it may be a while yet before he hangs up the No. 12 shirt.

“Yes, of course, I want to continue,” said the 30-year-old, who endured an indifferent first season with Barcelona.

“I had already said that it had crossed my mind (of retiring) but I am here.

“I don't know what is going to happen but I am going to reflect on what I am going to do.”

Makelele, Thuram & Sagnol Retire Reviewed by admin Ucop on 9:34 AM Rating: 5

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