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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 September 2006, 18:49 GMT 19:49 UK
Domenech stands firm on Makelele
Antonio Cassano and Claude Makelele
Makelele (right) played the full 90 minutes against Italy
Raymond Domenech is adamant he will continue to pick Chelsea midfielder Claude Makelele for France.

The Premiership champions have been angered by Domenech's stance in picking the 33-year-old who has said he wants to retire from the international arena.

After France's 3-1 win over Italy, coach Domenech said: "He still has a few good years ahead of him.

"Makelele says what he wants, Chelsea says what it wants, me, I do what I want. The law is on my side."

Under Fifa laws, Makelele could face a spell on the sidelines with Chelsea for turning down France when selected.

While Domenech's intransigence has infuriated Chelsea, the France coach reacted angrily after Blues boss Jose Mourinho accused him of treating Makelele "like a slave" by refusing to accept his retirement from international football.

Chelsea responded in a statement, saying: "Jose Mourinho was correct in giving strong backing for our player.

"Comments on 'slavery' were purely a metaphor to illustrate the problem."

Domenech had claimed Mourinho's use of the word was "staggering and insulting", while France defender Lilian Thuram felt the Chelsea coach said it to be purposely offensive.

The full Chelsea statement read: "Ill-considered comments regarding Claude Makelele's international career continue to come from the French camp, in particular Lilian Thuram, and the French national team coach, Raymond Domenech.

"Jose Mourinho was correct in giving strong backing for our player, and he was fully supported by Chelsea on this.

His position is difficult, but I believe, deep down, he wants to continue

Patrick Vieira

"Thuram and Domenech appear not to appreciate a manager's support for his player.

"They also fail to understand Jose Mourinho's comments regarding 'slavery' which were purely a metaphor to illustrate the Makelele problem, a figure of speech rather than a literal comparison with slavery as a social and political issue.

"As a result of their failings, deliberately inflammatory comments will only cloud a problem which is on its way to being resolved.

"Claude, Chelsea, and the French Football Federation hope to have a resolution after the current round of international matches."

Makelele was substituted after 58 minutes with an ankle injury in the 3-0 win over Georgia on Saturday and played the full 90 in the World Cup final re-match in Paris on Wednesday.

France are next in action on 7 October against Scotland before another Euro qualifier at home to the Faroe Islands four days later.

French captain Patrick Vieira has previously hinted that Makelele wants to continue playing for his country.

Vieira said: "His position is difficult, but I believe, deep down, he wants to continue.

"We have spoken about it a bit, and for me there is no doubt. What makes me pleased is seeing how he is with us in the squad. He is the same, he is Claude. I hope he will continue the adventure."



SEE ALSO
France 3-1 Italy
06 Sep 06 |  Internationals
Domenech rekindles Makelele row
29 Aug 06 |  Chelsea
France deliver Makelele warning
25 Aug 06 |  Chelsea


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