Zidane denies having role in France row

France legend Zinedine Zidane has denied suggestions he still has a significant influence over the dressing room and has been instructing the current players to challenge coach Raymond Domenech's authority.

The players returned to training today after they boycotted yesterday's session in protest at striker Nicolas Anelka being sent home after his row with Domenech became public knowledge.



Les Bleus' campaign has been dogged by rumours of disharmony and even suggestions 1998 World Cup-winner Zidane was trying to influence team selection.



However, the former Real Madrid and Juventus midfielder, who quit football in disgrace after being sent off for headbutting Marco Materazzi as France lost the 2006 World Cup final, has refuted the allegations.



"Thinking that I can call the players to put pressure on the coach four years after I have retired is serious," said the former France captain, 38 on Wednesday.



"I never had a problem with [Domenech] but I never had a good feeling for him.



"But I respected his instructions. As captain, I was talking, but he was the coach and I respected the rules.



"I never gave my opinion on the composition of the team. I have always respected the rules."



Zidane also voiced his opposition to the team walking out of training yesterday.



"I am against the fact that Les Bleus do not train - but I'm not inside group. That's why it's better for me to be quiet," he added.



"There's a new coach in Laurent Blanc (who takes over from Domenech after the tournament) who will change all of this.



"I don't think you can blame one player or another but Laurent Blanc's arrival will change everything that is happening within the team."



France are facing an early exit from the World Cup, as they experienced at Euro 2008, heading into their final Group A match against South Africa tomorrow.



The side have to win convincingly and hope there is a positive result between Uruguay and Mexico, the two teams currently top of the table.



Zidane still holds out hope his compatriots can regroup after a distracting couple of days and secure qualification.



"Even if that many people will laugh, I hope to see France in the final," he said.



"I am disappointed by the first results of Les Bleus but anything is possible.



"There is still a small chance for the team to emerge victorious from this group."



The French Football Federation have already announced they will hold an investigation on the whole affair after the tournament is over and the country's president Nicolas Sarkozy has also become involved.



He has asked sports minister Roselyne Bachelot to meet with the key people involved and she told television station TF1: "We are taking note of the indignation of the French people and...calling for dignity and responsibility.



"It's not yet the right time to take disciplinary action but that time will come very soon."



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral