Robert Pires Resigned to His Fate With French National Team

From ESPNSoccerNet.com -Arsenal winger Robert Pires has given up hope of being called up for the French national side by Raymond Domenech after being left out for the third consecutive squad.

Pires was left out of the squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifying double-header against Switzerland and Israel later this month.

However the Arsenal star will not quit international football with the possibility remaining of a call-up by Domenech's eventual successor.

Pires a 31-year-old who has 79 caps for Les Bleus played in the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000-winning squads but has not been part of Domenech's plans since the 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Cyprus on October 13.

He was substituted at half-time and then refused to sit on the bench before suggesting after the game that Domenech bore a grudge against him.

Although Domenech claimed that the substitution was tactical Pires has not been selected since and missed out on the two friendlies against Poland in November and Sweden in February.

Now Domenech has once again omitted him in the 20-men squad to play in their next qualifiers.

'This is no surprise to be honest' Pires told French sports daily L'Equipe on Thursday.

'What can I say? Obviously the national coach does not care about my performances. He has made his choice and I am clearly not part of it.

'I am not going to commit suicide because of it even though this is a huge disappointment for me.'

Pires however insists that he has no intention of retiring prematurely and with France's qualification bid for the World Cup in some trouble there could yet be a change of coach in the next year in the worst case scenario for Les Bleus.

'I will never stop my international career' he added.

'I have won everything with Les Bleus the World Cup the Euro 2000 and two Confederations Cup and my love and attachment to the national team are still the same.

'No one can decide on that. I remain a candidate even if to be honest I am not deluding myself.'

Should France qualify for the 2006 World Cup and travel to Germany with Domenech there is little chance Pires will be part of the trip.

'Never mind' he added. 'There is nothing I can do about it considering that my performances have no value in the eyes of the national coach and that my case is already decided.'

The Frenchman also believes his harsh comments in the press towards Domenech last Autumn triggered the situation.

'I am probably paying for what I said' he added. 'Many have told me that I should have spoken to him directly which was never the case.

'But I am convinced now that it would not have changed anything. Maybe I was too honest and too attached to the national team.

'I went to Rennes (in August 2004) to play against Bosnia-Herzegovina in a friendly although I had not had any prior preparation.

'I also joined everyone in Clairefontaine before we played against Ireland (in October 2004) although I was suffering from a urinary infection.

'But I guess there is no need to talk about this anymore.'