Speaking on last week's documentary Les Bleus, another history of France, 1996-2016, which aired on French television, Thuram was dismissive of the 2010 World Cup strike, which Anelka played an integral part in.
Thuram said: “We have to respect our shirt and the history that goes with it – that’s obvious."
He went on to discuss a pitch invasion which took place in a France v Algeria match against Algeria in 2001 - the first ever match between the two and one of some political significance given France's previous colonisation of the North African country.
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The match between France and Algeria was called off after 75 minutes
Image credit: Reuters
"What annoyed me was that there were guys on the field smiling," Thuram added. "It gave the impression they were running through a meadow. At no time did they understand the political impact of what was happening.
"I thought at that time I had to say: ‘Hey you, do you know what you’re doing here? You’ve no idea. I’ll explain a bit to you.'"
Former Arsenal and Manchester City player Anelka responded with a thinly-veiled jibe against his former team-mate, posting a picture of Thuram alongside the character Stephen from the film Django Unchained, with the caption: "Similar attitude. If u don't understand watch Django Unchained Movie."
In the film, the character, played by Samuel L. Jackson, is a senior slave who acts with contempt for those perceived by him as beneath him.
Thuram, who heads up an anti-racism foundation, has spoken many times of the racial tensions in France and incidents highlighting these, such as Zinedine Zidane's famous head butt against Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final after the Italian was said to have made a racial slur against Zidane.
"Players like Materazzi are a sickness in the game," he said.
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