The World Cup-winning former France defender announced on Friday he was bringing an end to his illustrious 18-year career, at the age of 36.

Doctors detected a cardiac malformation during a medical taken in June ahead of his prospective move to Paris St Germain, and Thuram chose to wait another month to find out the results of a second round of tests.

With the offer of a two-year contract from PSG on the table, France's record cap-holder admitted the idea of playing on crossed his mind.

But a series of chats with his mother, who has already seen one of her sons die from a similar condition, finally convinced Thuram to hang up his boots.

"Some days I said to myself that I should stop, other days that I should carry on," said Thuram, who played 142 times for Les Bleus, at a hastily-convened press conference at the Parc des Princes.

"But I understood in the conversations I had with my mother that it was time to quit.

"I would really have liked to sign for PSG but a lot of things come into play, especially the family.

"It wouldn't have been clever on my part to scare those who are dear to me."

The heart problem that medical tests detected in June is similar to the one that led to his brother collapsing and dying on a basketball court.

Other members of his family have also suffered from the condition.

Thuram will now undergo further tests but he admitted he was relieved the problem was not grave.

"The heart is enlarged but, genetically, I haven't got an illness which can provoke a heart attack at any moment," he added.

"I will have to take extra tests to know what it is. I will take them a lot later on. In two or three months' time.

"But I am very happy to learn that I am not sick; that makes things easier. I can play with my kids and play football with my friends."

Thuram, who was born in Guadeloupe, will go down as one of France's greatest and most successful players.

He was an integral part of the team that won the World Cup on home soil in 1998, scoring both his country's goals in the 2-1 semi-final win over Croatia, before picking up a European Championship winner's medal two years later.

His last appearance for Les Bleus came six weeks ago, in their 4-1 defeat to Holland in Euro 2008.

After France's early elimination from the tournament, he chose to retire from international football for the second time - he did so in 2004 too.

At club level, he began his career at Monaco in 1990 before moving to Italy in 1996 to play for Parma and then Juventus.

He joined Spanish outfit Barcelona in 2006 and was ready to pen a deal with PSG when his heart condition was detected.