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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 5, 2006

Makelele will play against Italy, says Domenech

CLAIREFONTAINE, France, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Claude Makelele will play against Italy despite the player's desire to end his international career, France coach Raymond Domenech said on Tuesday.

'There is at least one player who is sure to play,' Domenech told reporters, referring to the Chelsea midfielder.

France take on Italy in a Euro 2008 qualifier on Wednesday at the Stade de France in a sequel to the World Cup final Italy won on penalties two months ago in Germany.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho used the word slave to describe Makelele's situation after the player was called up by Domenech for the qualifiers despite his stated intention to retire from international soccer.

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

Makelele confirmed last Thursday that 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 the 3-0 win in Georgia on Saturday but Makelele came off in the 58th minute with a sore ankle.

'For now, there is the Italy game. Then we will see,' he said.

'The players who are fit and who play at a high level are likely to be called up. It only depends on my goodwill and only on that.

French skipper Patrick Vieira added: 'He is in a difficult position but I am convinced that deep inside he has the desire to continue. We talked a bit about it and to me there is no doubt about it.'

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