Even during his playing days, Lilian Thuram was a committed campaigner on a host of issues, including the fight against racism and the prevention of sickle-cell anaemia. Since his illustrious footballing career drew to a close in the summer, after the discovery of a heart problem, Thuram has redoubled his efforts on the campaign front. It was in this capacity that the former France international visited Zurich on 4 December to discuss the fight against racism with FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.
As one career ends, another begins
Though he hung up his boots only a few months ago, Thuram appears to have already put that chapter of his life well and truly behind him. "I don't really follow football anymore," said Thuram in a video interview granted to FIFA.com after his meeting with the FIFA President. "I've never been one to watch a lot of matches, and that hasn't changed since I stopped playing."
Yet Thuram has kept well enough abreast with the goings-on in the European game to opine that it "makes sense that Cristiano Ronaldo was given the Ballon d'Or, he's a cut above the rest", as well as backing former coach Fabio Capello to maintain his successful start with England: "He's got a great deal to offer England, but what really counts is having good players."
That said, it is the fight against racism that really spurs on the Guadeloupe-born star. "The fight against racism is fascinating because it has an impact on so many aspects [of life]," says the man capped a record 142 times by Les Bleus. "For example, why was it so difficult for people to picture a black President of the United States?" he says, in reference to the recent election victory of Senator Barack Obama. "We must educate children (on these issues). We have to explain to them what racism is and why it still exists."
Other subjects the former Monaco, Parma, Juventus and Barcelona defender touched upon in the interview were the abrupt end to his playing career, his cousin Yoann's emergence at Monaco and the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. To enjoy this video, simply click on the link on the right-hand side of the page.