Zidane aims to bow out with World Cup win
The France midfielder said he wanted to end his international career in July with a second World Cup triumph in Germany.india Updated: Apr 10, 2006 22:40 IST
France midfielder Zinedine Zidane said Monday he wants to end his international career in July with a second World Cup triumph in Germany.
Speaking to German football magazine Kicker, the Real Madrid talisman said: "It would be good if I could finish my international career in the French team with a big and beautiful success. I want to become World champion again— that's my goal."
The 33-year-old has already retired from the international scene once before after France's dismal showing in the European Championships in Portugal in 2004.
But he made a comeback in August 2005 as France struggled to qualify for the showpiece event due to kick off on June 9.
Zidane played his part as the 1998 winners recovered to squeeze through ahead of Switzerland, Republic of Ireland and Israel.
After the World Cup, though, Zidane is adamant he will not be making another u-turn and he also plans to retire from club football by the end of next season.
"It is absolutely certain. The World Cup is my last big challenge at that level. With Real Madrid I still have another year on my contract to go before 2007. And then I will decide, in total peace, what I will do," added the former World and European player of the year.
Zidane is also hoping that France can make up for their nightmare 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea where they failed to make it out of a group containing Uruaguay, Denmark and Senegal, without even mustering a single goal.
"France have the potential, with big players, to go far in the competition," he added.
"To do so we have to be at the top of our form in June. We have to improve our game. If we play like we did in most of our qualification matches then we won't have much hope.
"I am convinced that the team will improve because we have much more potential than we demonstrated in qualifying."
Zidane is hoping a persistent groin problem he suffered earlier in the season does not resurface in Germany, so he can lead his team all the way to the final on July 9.
"For the last two, three months, I have been feeling good and I have rediscovered my movement and rhythm. But at my age I need longer to recover than I used to.
"On the other hand, it is easier to forget about pain when we are living great experiences."