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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 July, 2004, 07:44 GMT 08:44 UK
Thuram quits internationals
Marcel Desailly and Lilian Thuram
Desailly and Thuram were mainstays of the French defence
Lilian Thuram has decided to call time on his international career after winning 103 caps for France.

The 32-year-old defender follows Marcel Desailly into retirement following his country's poor showing at Euro 2004.

"A new World Cup is looming and new players might be more competitive than me. The Thuram cycle has come to an end," he told l'Equipe newspaper.

"There's no point in playing for a few more caps. I don't intend to try to catch up with Marcel Desailly."

Thuram, who played right-back for Les Bleus, was a key part of France's greatest successes - the wins at the World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship two years later.

But the Juventus star said that the quarter-final defeat at the hands of eventual winners Greece in Euro 2004 was not the cause behind his decision to retire.

He first wanted to quit the international scene after France's disastrous World Cup in 2002 - when they became the first defending champions to fail to score a goal.

However, Jacques Santini, who took over as coach following that tournament, persuaded the defender to carry on.

Santini has since been replaced by former Under-21 coach Raymond Domenech.

L'Equipe added that playmaker Zinedine Zidane, goalkeeper Fabien Barthez and left-back Bixente Lizarazu might follow Desailly, who won 116 caps, and Thuram into international retirement.

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