France's World Cup winning captain Didier Deschamps has revealed that he will decide whether to quit his English Premiership side Chelsea after Euro 2000.
Deschamps, speaking at France's training camp at Clairefontaine before flying out for a friendly in Zagreb with Croatia, has been persistently linked with a move to Lyon, who unlike the London side, have qualified for next season's Champions League.
The Basque-born veteran is known to be keen to become the first man to win Europe's top club prize with three different clubs - he has previously triumphed with Marseille and Italy's Juventus.
Deschamps told AFP: "Only the sporting challenge interests me. If I must come back to France, even if the level is not as high (as in England), there are less than 10 clubs that would be able to afford me.
"But it could interest me," added Deschamps, who despite being less skilled than French legends past and present such as Zinedine Zidane, Just Fontaine and Michel Platini, is the most successful French player in history in terms of trophies won.
Meanwhile, Deschamps blasted suggestions that he is a major influence on team selection with the world champions.
"Everyone has their own job," insisted Deschamps told AFP. "It is the job of the coach to pick the players."
The French captain has not helped his protestations of innocence with remarks to French sports daily L'Equipe, when asked if he would like to be coach "les Bleus" one day, "I have been for five years." He insists that remark was a joke.
Deschamps was rumored to have, with fellow veteran Laurent Blanc, vetoed the promotion of younger talent at the expense of France 98 stars during France's qualifying campaign for Euro 2000.
At one point it looked as France coach Roger Lemerre might quit with interference by unnamed senior players high on his list of complaints although he has now signed a contract extension.
Deschamps is also believed to have been an influential figure under Lemerre's World Cup winning predecessor Aime Jacquet and is credited by some for the removal of former Manchester United ace Eric Cantona and Tottenham's David Ginola from the national tea-- (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)