Like Raphaël Varane, who decided to end his international career at just 29 years old, Didier Deschamps ended his adventure with the Blues early. At least as a player.
Roger Lemerre could not find the words to change his position. While the Blues were busy celebrating their miraculous victory at the Euro following the success snatched against Italy in the final thanks to a masterful volley from David Trezeguet, the coach had a long aside with Didier Deschamps in the central circle of the Kuip stadium. At 31, the tireless midfielder of the France team had just decided to end his international career. ” I knew that night in Rotterdam, the second the final whistle blew, that I would never experience something so strong.”, he confided years later. My decision was made. »
Roger Lemerre therefore tried to convince him to continue the adventure with the Blues. Not sure, however, that the speech given by the former assistant of Aimé Jacquet even shook the native of Bayonne in his certainties. ” The coach explained to me that there was better to date in my position, in the person of Patrick Vieira, but that he still needed me. So he offered me to play only one match out of three. It was out of the question for me to accept,” smiled DD at the mention of this sequence twenty years later.
A 103rd and final selection
Sure of his choice, Didier Deschamps nevertheless waits until the end of August to confirm the end of his international career. The friendly match against England on September 2 will therefore be his 103rd and last match with the Blues. Consequence in particular of the criticisms of which it had been the object during the Euro. After a first friendly match against a Fifa selection in mid-August, the tricolor captain, like Laurent Blanc and Bernard Lama – who had not planned to retire internationally, therefore bids farewell to the France team. on the lawn of the Stade de France against the Three Lions.
After falling out with Denis Wise then Paul Scholes, Didier Deschamps left shortly before the hour mark to make way for Patrick Vieira, designated as his successor in the tricolor midfield. The opportunity for a final standing ovation before heading to the locker room. The midfielder did not even see Emmanuel Petit’s goal a few minutes later, when the former Monegasque rushed to the bench to celebrate with the newly retired. Didier Deschamps nevertheless returned to the pitch at the end of the match when England had just equalized thanks to Michael Owen at the very end of the match to receive his bouquet of flowers and a trophy. The end of a ten-year adventure which will resume twelve years later in the coach’s costume.