Unhappy Makelele continues pay rise rebellion
( 2003-08-15 10:19) (Agencies)
Real Madrid midfielder Claude Makelele continued his rebellion over a demand for a substantial pay rise when he failed to attend squad training on Thursday.
The French international, who also refused to train on Wednesday, continued his protest despite the club's decision to discipline him for his action.
"Right now I am not even thinking of training or anything like it," the French international told sports daily Marca on Thursday.
"I don't feel right and when you feel like that it is best not to force yourself."
Makelele's agent Marc Roger said the player had started the protest because he felt undervalued by the club after they refused to grant an improvement in his contract.
Roger told reporters on Wednesday that "if they (Real) continue to pay him the same amount then I'm sure he will not stay.
"He can't carry on like this. There are players in the squad like (David) Beckham who are earning five times as much as him."
Roger said that premier league side Chelsea had made an offer of 10 million euros ($11.28 million) for the player and that he had been assured by Real in the past that if he managed to secure such a sum then they would release him from his present contract, which expires in June 2006.
Real Madrid sporting director Jorge Valdano said that Makelele's refusal to train with the rest of the squad would result in disciplinary action and he would not now meet with representatives from Chelsea who were due to travel to Madrid on Monday.
"We have opened a disciplinary enquiry against the player," Valdano told reporters. "We have received no concrete offer for him and we have cancelled the Monday meeting."
Makelele joined Real Madrid from Celta Vigo in August 2000 for $13.7 million. He has been one of Real's most influential players in recent seasons, performing a vital ball-winning role in midfield and it would be a major surprise if the club decided to release him.
Team mate Iker Casillas told a news conference after training on Thursday that Makelele was one of the most important players in the squad.
"His presence is very important for the team and you always notice it when he is playing," he said. "He is a great help to the side although no one is irreplaceable."
As for Makelele's decision not to train, the Real Madrid keeper was mildly supportive.
"It is obviously a personal decision and you never know what is going on inside someone's head. But it is his decision and you have to respect it as it could happen to you one day."
Makelele has been called up for France to play in next week's friendly against Switzerland after missing the Confederations Cup through club commitments.
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