Thuram tips Diarra to lead Les Bleus to glory

August 2, 2008

Lilian Thuram has tipped Portsmouth midfielder Lassana Diarra to fill his boots as a leader of France's national team for years to come.

Thuram quit football for good yesterday following the discovery of a defect in his heart.

But the 36-year-old, who made a record 142 appearances for France, believes Les Bleus are in safe hands with the likes of Diarra around.

When asked which player of the new generation could go on to be a leader for France for the next 10 years, Thuram said: 'I believe a lot in Lassana Diarra.

'He is someone who can bring something else.

'He is a midfielder, and that role requires character. He can help other players around him.'

Diarra, who moved to Portsmouth from Arsenal midway through last season, is a favourite of France coach Raymond Domenech.

The utility midfielder's international prospects will improve with the recent retirement of Claude Makelele and the continuing injury problems suffered by captain Patrick Vieira.