Leading French player Lilian Thuram had some wise words for the team’s young players ahead of next week’s World Cup in Russia.
Thuram won the World Cup with France in 1998, scoring the game-winning goal against Brazil in the final, and was one of the biggest influences on French soccer.
He, however, advised the French players that they must not only set an example for the fans, but also for their younger team-mates.
He has singled out the young players like Kylian Mbappe and Alphonse Areola, who are under 21 years old, and he told the French media that he believed there were many examples of “thugs” on the teams, but urged them to avoid being a victim of abuse themselves.
“The young players must learn that they represent more than the national team, that they must set an example at every club,” he told the French website L’Equipe.
Thuram also told the media that the young players should make sure that they are the good guys at all times, even if they are anonymous on the field or on social media.
“You think you’re anonymous? You have to be aware of everything that is seen on the field. Everything,” Thuram said.
Thuram also warned of the “messages” the French players could face on social media and urged them to educate themselves better.
He then spoke about the reaction to France’s wonderful victory over Germany, and also the fact that the team had been coached by coach Didier Deschamps.
“He had to win that World Cup in 2002,” Thuram said. “Had the French won the World Cup in 1998, he would have been sacked. The French team gave Didier Deschamps such a difficult time.”