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Football | France

Domenech ‘relieved’ after telling his story



Former France coach Raymond Domenech said he felt a "relieved" man on the eve of the publication of his memoirs from six years at the helm of a tumultuous reign as national coach.

"I had to say some things and I couldn't say it whenever or however I wanted but now I am relieved," said the 60-year-old, with the book titled "Tout Seul" (All Alone) set to be released on Wednesday, with AFP obtaining a copy on Monday.

"I told a story, my story. I wanted to tell what I saw and my version of events and what I really went through. I had to do it at some time but this is what reality was like for me during six years." he continued.

In the book, Domenech blasts several players and was particularly scathing about Franck Ribery, who last week said his Bundesliga club Bayern Munich was more important to him than the French national team.

In an extract from his diary in September 2009, Domenech wrote: "Ribery, he continued to poison the group by his attitude as a susceptible diva.

"When I wanted to thank him, he cold-shouldered me, pulling his arm away: 'Don't touch me!' For everything Ribery stood for I would have gladly strung him up."

"The classic image of a coach sees him in front of a blank piece of paper on which he has to name his team. A list for which you are alone. When the match is finished, you are all alone in front of the group. When you make decisions and must assume them, you are all alone even if behind me I had a competent team of staff.

Regarding Nicolas Anelka, whose exclusion from the squad for insulting Domenech during the 2010 World Cup led to the infamous training ground strike by the players, the former coach's opinion explained:

"Anelka has killed the group ... after this shipwreck, an image woke me up a bit: (William) Gallas and Anelka joking after the game. What unconsciousness." he wrote after the 2-0 defeat against Mexico.

As well as criticising the "self interest" of Manchester City winger Samir Nasri and "arrogance" of Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, Domenech expressed his respect for former World Cup winner Lilian Thuram.

"We talked about the team (during Euro 2008) and the young players of course, (Thuram) revealed: 'there are little assholes, hear me well coach, little assholes'."

Domenech who led the team to the 2006 World Cup final but was fired after the 2010 fiasco added that there are still the same problems within today's squad.

"Laurent Blanc and Didier Deschamps continued to pick them because they are the best players and you can not be world champions unless you have players of the very highest level."

"There are things that I got wrong and didn't see. I wasn't capable of managing this group and this bad generation."

"I watched Euro 2012 and had the feeling that things were the same and they hadn't changed. It was not revenge but I was not to blame for everything," he added.

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