Zidane to retire after World Cup 2006

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Real Madrid midfielder Zinedine Zidane has announced that he will retire after the World Cup in Germany.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:40 IST
  • Total Shares


Real Madrid midfielder Zinedine Zidane has announced that he will retire after the World Cup in Germany. Zidane helped France win the 1998 World Cup on home soil and the 2000 European Championship. He was FIFA's World Player of the Year in 1998, 2000 and 2003. "I am stopping for good and I am stopping everything,'' Zidane told Canal Plus television. "Most of all, I think it's my body. I told myself that I can't do another year,'' he added. Zidane, who had another year to run on his contract with Madrid, will turn 34 during the June 9-July 9 World Cup. Fabulous record Zidane joined Madrid in 2001 from Juventus for a then-record fee of $65 million. He led Madrid to the 2002 Champions League title, the 2002 European Super Cup and the 2003 Spanish league title. But with the star-studded team without a trophy since, Zidane will play his last match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on May 7 against Villarreal. "I don't want to start a third year knowing that I won't be able to do better than I've done in the past,'' Zidane said. He said he wanted to focus on the World Cup - "my last objective'' - and give Madrid time to find a replacement. "This is something that has been running around in my head for quite a while,'' Zidane said. "I wanted everyone to know so that I wouldn't be asked the 100 questions one gets when there are doubts.'' Nicknamed 'Zizou', he retired from the French team after it lost to Greece in the quarterfinals of the 2004 European Championship. But along with Claude Makelele and Lilian Thuram, Zidane returned to help France qualify for the 2006 World Cup. Zidane, who has scored 28 goals in 99 games for France, has also played for Bordeaux and Cannes. He will join Didier Deschamps, Thuram and Marcel Desailly as the only men to play 100 games for France if he stays fit. He will achieve the milestone at home against Mexico on May 27. Zidane scored on two headers in the 3-0 win in the 1998 World Cup final against Brazil at the Stade de France. In 2000, he scored a penalty as France beat Portugal in the semifinals to ultimately win its second European title. However, Zidane carried an injury at the 2002 World Cup as France became the first defending champion to exit in the tournament's first round. At Euro 2004, he was criticized for a lack of understanding with Thierry Henry, whom he has failed to create a goal for since the striker's debut in 1997. (AP)