France striker Nicolas Anelka – sent home from the squad in disgrace – claims all Les Bleus players were in favour of striking.
The Chelsea forward was at the centre of the France World Cup scandal, having been given his marching orders by the French Football Federation following a bust-up with coach Raymond Domenech.
The squad went on strike and refused to train in retaliation for the treatment of the 31-year-old as France completed a miserable South Africa 2010 campaign by finishing bottom of Group A.
And now Anelka, who returned to France to face a barrage of media criticism, has claimed he was not responsible for the debacle and insisted all the players were in favour of striking.
“Everyone and I mean everyone was united,” said Anelka. “In the case of mutiny, everything and its opposite was said. If there were players who wanted to train, they should speak now. But I am 100% certain that nobody will. If it was not from me that everything was precipitated, this would have happened with someone else. It had to explode.”
The former Real Madrid, Liverpool and Arsenal star also hit back at former France international Bixente Lizarazu who accused him of “strolling” and playing “in a selfish manner”. “Lizarazu – who is he?”Anelka sarcastically said. “When he speaks and we listen, we seem to hear a living legend. He’s just a former player in lack of recognition, frustrated by the success of his mates Zidane and Dugarry. Has he forgotten that he was at the 2002 World Cup? I was not included in the squad but I refrained from comment. He should stop talking about respect.”

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