Zidane ‘deeply affected’ by France changes

13th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 12 (AFP) - Zinedine Zidane headed into international retirement Thursday saying he had been deeply affected by the wind of change that had swept through the national team both on and off the pitch.

PARIS, Aug 12 (AFP) - Zinedine Zidane headed into international retirement Thursday saying he had been deeply affected by the wind of change that had swept through the national team both on and off the pitch.  

The French football legend, who scored two goals in France's 3-0 victory over Brazil in the 1998 World Cup final on home soil, claimed in an interview on Canal+ that "something was broken."   

"Already there had been 2002 (France's first round exit when defending their World Cup title) and 2004 (the European Championships' quarter-final loss to Greece) - it was the straw which broke the camel's back," said 32-year-old Zidane, capped 93 times for France.   

"The retirements, and the departures at backroom staff level, have really affected me.   

"Above all when I learned of the radical changes among the staff, particularly Henri Emile and Philippe Boixel, who were part of my generation, this affected me.   

"As I have already said, things have been breaking down a bit.  

"My decision is clear. I took my time in making it and it is a final decision. Nobody will be able to make me change my mind," continued the Real Madrid playmaker who emphasised he made the decision after discussing it with those close to him.  

"I did not do this all alone. You have to talk to those close to you, your family. France needs a new generation of players on the run-up to the World Cup in 2006. Places need to be made for younger players to come through.  

"Now I will be viewing the French team in a different light, and certainly with pangs of nostalgia."   

He completely ruled out an international return even if they were struggling. "That would not be a good idea. And I think France are strong enough to rise up to the challenge."

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

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