Zidane to decide on future with team

France's soccer coach expects Zinedine Zidane to decide this week whether he will continue playing for the team.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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France's new soccer coach expects Zinedine Zidane, Bixente Lizarazu and Fabien Barthez to decide this week whether they continue playing for the national team. Coach Raymond Domenech, who took over from Jacques Santini following France's lackluster Euro 2004 performance, is soon to begin his qualifying campaign for the 2006 World Cup. The question is: Will he do so with Zidane, Lizarazu and Barthez on board? Or will the trio step down, in keeping with the international retirements of veterans Lilian Thuram and Marcel Desailly? What became blatantly apparent in France's dismal quarterfinal exit to Greece at Euro 2004 is that Les Bleus need new faces, a change in direction and a fresh attitude. Domenech is unequivocal that a complete shake-up is required. "We need to change the habits. We need to turn the page," Domenech said. "You don't come to the French team just to pull on the shirt," he added. "If a player is scared to take responsibility, I hope he tells me. Because he will be gone." Even Zidane, the world's greatest midfielder, struggled during the European Championships in Portugal, prompting talk by sections of the French media that "Zizou" is a declining force. The 32-year-old Real Madrid star is talking with Domenech later this week about his future. (AP)