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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 3, 2006

France's Thuram reignites Mourinho slavery row

CLAIREFONTAINE, France, Sept 3 (Reuters) - France defender Lilian Thuram criticised on Sunday Jose Mourinho's use of the word slave to describe team mate Claude Makelele's situation in the French squad.

France coach Raymond Domenech called up Makelele for Euro 2008 qualifiers despite the midfielder's stated intention to retire from international soccer. Makelele's outspoken Chelsea manager likened his treatment to slavery, saying it was a denial of human rights.

'If Mourinho can use a word like this, it means that he doesn't know what he is talking about. He doesn't know what slavery is,' Thuram told a news conference at Clairefontaine training camp.

'He didn't say it because he is stupid but merely because he doesn't know the meaning of this word,' Thuram said.

'This has nothing to do with soccer. Mourinho made his comments to be offensive. I really don't see how Claude's situation can be compared to that of a slave.'

Asked what he thought of Makelele being included in the squad, Thuram said: 'The situation is clear. Domenech had the right to call up Claude for these matches.'

Thuram had the same experience when Domenech forced him out of international retirement to help France qualify for the 2006 World Cup.

'Last year, Domenech chose to bring me back into the squad against my will too. Apparently he has made the same choice with Claude. He has the law on his side', Thuram said.

Under FIFA rules, if Makelele had refused to play for France he could have been suspended from playing for Chelsea.

The 33-year-old midfielder confirmed on Thursday he had wanted to retire from international football after the World Cup but pledged to do his best for France if selected.

Domenech picked him for France's 3-0 win over Georgia in Tblisi on Saturday. He came off in the 58th minute with a sore ankle, however.

France's medical staff are to decide whether he will be fit to face Italy on Wednesday, a spokesman said on Sunday.