Lizarazu takes his leave from international field

5th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 5 (AFP) - French defender Bixente Lizarazu on Thursday announced his retirement from international football after a glittering career that saw him pick up winners medals at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

PARIS, Aug 5 (AFP) - French defender Bixente Lizarazu on Thursday announced his retirement from international football after a glittering career that saw him pick up winners medals at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

The 34-year-old from the Basque region joins fellow defenders Marcel Desailly and Lilian Thuram in retiring from the French national team in the wake of their disastrous Euro 2004 campaign.

"I share with Lilian the idea that we must give our places to other players for 2006 (World Cup). It's now up to them to take their responsibilities," said Lizarazu, who will play for Marseille this season.

"You must have time and a lot of matches to reach the highest level and they will need this to reach maturity in two years time," he told L'Equipe sports daily.

The 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 winner made his French debut in 1992 and went on to win 97 caps, scoring two goals.

Prior to joining Marseille this month on a two-year deal he played with German giants Bayern Munich for seven years, winning four Bundesliga titles.

He previously played in Spain with Athletic Bilboa and French side Bordeaux.

"Over the past seven years at Bayern, I have given 100 percent of my energy to the French team and my club. Now I need more time for my personal life and my son.

"I feel relieved with this announcement. I've been thinking it over for a long time," he said. "These decisions are not taken easily."

The French Football Federation issued a statement on behalf of Raymond Domenech in which it said the new coach "totally respects this choice, as he had done with Lilian Thuram."

Domenech had held talks with Lizarazu on Tuesday in a bid to put off his retirement.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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