Barthez still number one
By Patrick Haond
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The Manchester United shot-stopper has struggled with injuries recently and has not turned out for his country for three months.
Doubts had arisen over Barthez's future at both club and country with Spanish keeper Ricardo moving to Old Trafford.
Gregory Coupet has also been performing well as national team keeper but manager Jacques Santini insists that a fully fit Barthez will always be his number one.
"It is no secret that Barthez will be in goal against Slovenia," said Santini.
"There is no competition in that position, it is very clear, Barthez is number one."
The former Monaco man has suffered with injuries and also making some high-profile clangers for Manchester United, but he says that he has never felt his position at Old Trafford has been under pressure.
Barthez says Ricardo's arrival was a precautionary measure in case he required surgery.
"I was the victim of a very long injury," said Barthez. "I was injured to the buttock muscle during our first match of the season.
"The blow happened exactly at the same place as the one against Denmark in Korea.
"At first, it was quite bad because the injury bled a lot. At a certain time, we seriously thought about surgery.
"So Alex Ferguson decided to hire another keeper. But I succeeded to avoid surgery. All the rest is pure invention from the English press. I know exactly what is happening inside the club.
"About Gregory Coupet, it is nice he is full of ambition, but his presence doesn't stimulate me. There is no competition.
"I am only in competition with myself for eleven years. I never paid attention to people around me. I only look to my performances."