I am talking here about two examples - Claude Makelele and Theo Zagorakis. Makelele said that he wanted to retire after Germany 2006. Fair enough - he is 33 after all and no one can say he has not given his all for Les Bleus. In fact he has already retired once before, after Euro 2004, but Domenech convinced him to reconsider. Without his presence and that of ZZ and Thuram (who also came out of retirement) France would probably not have qualified for Germany. You would have thought therefore that the least Makelele could expect would be for his wish to retire this time to be respected. Instead Domenech (who in my opinion was more of a hindrance than a help during France’s World Cup run) picks him .
Let’s now turn to Zagorakis who hasn’t had a decent game in over a year. He was surprised to be called up by Rehhagel having intimated that he no longer thought he was up to the task of playing international football and wanted to go out on a high. He was even more shocked to see his name in the starting line-up of Greece’s qualifier away to Moldova. Clearly off the pace, he asked to be substituted at half-time. Again, here is a player that has given his all for the national cause and who has earned the right to leave at the top of his game, but is not being allowed to.
Let me ask you this. If your employer were to give you a new and exciting piece of work to do once you had resigned, would you give your all? would you be motivated to do your best and bust a gut? probably not. Your mind would be focussed on your new job. You would have no incentive. However, because of their fame and the fact that patriotism is a strong emotion, these players are being forced to. The stigma of being unpariotic is too great.
So why do these coaches do this? Maybe they are worried about a lack of alternatives - more believable in the case of Greece but unlikely. For me it shows a lack of respect toward players who have helped them achieve their success.