Zidane just happy to be back with Les Bleus

20th December 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 19 (AFP) - Zinedine Zidane admitted on Monday that he was right to come out of international retirement and that the decision was crucial to France securing a place in the 2006 finals.

PARIS, Dec 19 (AFP) - Zinedine Zidane admitted on Monday that he was right to come out of international retirement and that the decision was crucial to France securing a place in the 2006 finals.

The former world footballer of the year was recalled from his self-imposed international exile and played a major part in rescuing the 1998 champions' faltering qualifying campaign.

"I am happy to have returned," said the Real Madrid star who was joined in his international U-turn by Chelsea's Claude Makelele and Juventus defender Lilian Thuram.

"The same goes for Claude and Lilian. Even if the team could have qualified, the experience of the players allowed the team to find a certain confidence that had been lost at that time."

Zidane, who grabbed two of the goals when France beat Brazil 3-0 in the 1998 World Cup final, endured a nightmare 2002 finals where Les Bleus were knocked out at the first round stage.

He was injured and missed the embarrassing defeat to Senegal as well as the draw with Uruguay returning to play a minor role in France's last group game against Denmark.

Despite retiring after Euro 2004, Zidane is back and insists the key to success in Germany next summer lies in concentrating on the team's strengths and not worrying about Switzerland, South Korea or Togo, their scheduled first round opponents.

"The important thing is how we prepare, how we are going to do at the World Cup," Zidane told his official website www.zidane.fr.

"We can't worry about the other teams. We must think about what we have to do to go as far as possible in the tournament," added the captain. "The French team must be better than it has been up to now to hope to do something in Germany.

"We need to have the best players in each position. With a lot of tournaments in the season, this is important in a team which wants to go a long way."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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