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'I hope Zizou?s career ends against us'

In his last few days as footballer, Zidane has had to live with friends turned foes.

india Updated: Jun 30, 2006 00:52 IST

In his last few days as footballer, Zinedine Zidane has had to live with friends turned foes. Spain got their ticket home when he sent Iker Casillas the wrong way. Now, another former Real Madrid mate wants Zidane to play his last international match on Saturday.

“I hope he ends his career against us,” Robinho said after training on Wednesday. “It is a loss for football that Zidane is retiring. He is not just a great footballer but a player who brings out the best in others. I spoke to him for long and I hope he doesn’t have much success against us,”  he said.

“France are very tough in the head and strong physically. They have great players in top European leagues. But we have come here to be world champions and to get there, we must beat them,” Robinho said. Called O Principe (the Prince to Pele’s king), Robinho’s dazzling dribbles has evoked comparisons with Garrincha.

He was warned early in life that too much dribbling could result in a broken leg from bigger, older defenders but this 60kg frame ignored such advice while developing his trademark pedalada (step-over). And now Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira is being riled back home for not giving this agile 22-year-old enough opportunities.

Robinho is also upbeat about his chances of playing on Saturday. “When I first got injured, I got really scared that the World Cup’s over for me. But now I am calm. Little by little, it is getting better. There is no pain now and I should be 100 per cent on Saturday”"

Robinho left practice ahead of Tuesday’s game against Ghana with a thigh injury. He was sidelined for the pre-quarter final and after an MRI, team doctor Jose Luis Runco said there was no rupturing of tendons but an oedema. “Robinho’s physiotherapy will continue and this sort of injury usually takes five days to heal,” the doctor said on Monday.

Robinho ran six laps around the Bergisch Gladbach park and trained without the ball on Wednesday evening.

The Real Madrid striker said he would start that from Thursday. He seems to be on course for at least a place on the bench but Robinho said he was worried about Emerson who took a knock and was replaced against Ghana. Kaka too took a slight in jury from that match but Robinho said it wasn’t serious.