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Maka annouces France retirement


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Wed, 18th Jun 2008

Claude Makelele, who announced his retirement from international football last night (Tuesday), ended his career with France three caps short of becoming the third player to achieve 50 caps whilst playing for Chelsea.

The 35-year-old won his 71st cap against Italy, a defeat that eliminated France from Euro 2008. His 47th cap as a Chelsea player is only bettered by France pair Marcel Desailly and William Gallas and Frank Lampard's England call-ups.

Makelele's first cap came in July 1995 when he was a Nantes player, the game a 0-0 draw against Norway.

He was selected only twice between his debut and October 2000, and was not included in the trophy-winning squads at the 1998 World Cup or Euro 2000.

After his move to Real Madrid in the summer of 2000, he became a regular for his country, and was persuaded (along with Lilian Thuram who also retired yesterday) to return in August 2005 after a short 11-month retirement to help a faltering World Cup qualification campaign.

It paid dividends; France not only making the tournament but progressing all the way to the 2006 World Cup Final. Makelele played all seven of the games in Germany.

It will surprise few that he did not find the net for his country.

'To have been allowed to wear France's colours, that's my trophy,' the midfielder is quoted as saying last night.

Chelsea's top 10 all-time international appearances

Caps won while with Chelsea

1 Marcel Desailly (France) 74

2 Frank Lampard (England) 59

3 William Gallas (France) 48

4 Claude Makelele (France) 47

5 Dan Petrescu (Romania) 44

6 John Terry (England) 44

7 Joe Cole (England) 40

8 Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast) 40

9 Petr Cech (Czech Republic) 39

10 Tore André Flo (Norway) 38

Correct to 18 June. Statistics by Paul Dutton.

Third and final time.

Edited by Kez
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