I'm no Zidane, warns France newcomer Gomis
Bafetimbi Gomis, who has just emulated Zinedine Zidane with a spectacular France debut, warns he is not yet in the same league as the retired maestro.Updated: Jun 04, 2008 15:15 IST
Newcomer Bafetimbi Gomis, who has just emulated Zinedine Zidane with a spectacular France debut, warned he was not yet in the same league as the retired maestro.
The 22-year-old Gomis struck twice in a 2-0 Euro 2008 warm-up win over Ecuador last week, becoming the first player to score two goals on his first appearance for France since Zidane in a 2-2 draw with the Czech Republic in 1994.
The feat earned him a surprise place in France's 23-man squad for the June 7-29 tournament in Austria and Switzerland.
The dreadlocked St Etienne forward realises, however, that he has some way to go before he can be seriously likened to Zidane, one of the sport's all-time greats.
"You should not compare me with Zidane," he told reporters at France's training camp outside Paris.
"I need to work to keep improving," added Gomis, who extended his St Etienne contract until 2012 on Monday.
"Those two goals are behind me now."
Gomis, who scored 16 Ligue 1 goals this season, is of Senegalese descent and had been approached by Senegal but declined the offer.
"I'm happy and proud to be able to defend France's colours," he said. "I had a choice and I chose France."
An energetic forward whose two goals against Ecuador were superb, Gomis realises he is fourth in the pecking order for a place up front behind Thierry Henry, Karim Benzema and Nicolas Anelka.
"I'm here to make a contribution," he said. "I'll accept the coach's decisions and I'll take whatever he gives me. Even if I don't play a single minute at Euro 2008, I'll keep supporting the team."
When Gomis was named by Domenech on a provisional 30-man list, many, including the player himself, expected he would be among the seven to be dropped.
"I was ready for that and I would have accepted it," he said.
His performance against Ecuador changed everything and Domenech decided to take Gomis along and leave behind the far more experienced Djibril Cisse.
"If I'm here, it's because I deserve to be," Gomis added. "Now I must show Domenech that he was right to pick me.
"I'm young, I feel fresh and I don't put myself under any kind of pressure. We'll just see what happens next."
France are in Group C at Euro 2008 with world champions Italy, the Netherlands and Romania.