Youth Olympic Futsal Tournaments Buenos Aires 2018 - Men

Youth Olympic Futsal Tournaments Buenos Aires 2018 - Men

7 - 18 October


Ten years on

French Thierry Henry (L) and Youri Djorkaeff (R) kiss the FIFA trophy

'Same time, same place' goes the expression, and those words will find special resonance in France this week, a decade on from the most famous chapter in the country's sporting history. Two goals from Zinedine Zidane and one from Emmanuel Petit earned Les Bleus a 3-0 victory over Brazil in the FIFA World Cup™ Final on 12 July 1998, and the architects of that legendary win will celebrate its tenth anniversary at the Stade de France on Friday.

The memories remain extremely vivid for those involved, but few of Aime Jacquet's 22-man squad are involved in football now. goes in search of France's world champions to find out where they are now and what is occupying their time.

Every year their numbers seem to dwindle, yet five members of that all-conquering squad have yet to hang up their boots. David Trezeguet and Thierry Henry were just 20 at the time, so it is no surprise to find them plying their trade at two of Europe's leading clubs, with the latter now preparing for his second season at Barcelona after shining in England with Arsenal earlier in his career. Having netted 45 times for his country, Titi has also overtaken Michel Platini as France's record marksman, while Trezegol, who today retired from international football, has surpassed the current UEFA President's tally for Juventus, courtesy of his 156 strikes for the Turin giants.

A year older than that duo, Patrick Vieira can still be seen striding across pitches with his famous long legs. Another former Gunners idol, the France captain has contributed to Inter Milan's Serie A success over the last two seasons, though he has also struggled with injuries of late. His most recent denied him any participation at UEFA EURO 2008.

As for Robert Pires, his erstwhile colleague in north London, the 34-year-old has retired from the international stage but proved a key player last season for Villarreal, who were the surprise runners-up in La Liga ahead of Lilian Thuram's Barcelona. That could well prove to be Thuram's last professional campaign, too, after the former Parma defender was denied a move to Paris Saint-Germain due to a heart problem.

From pitch to bench
As many people expected, the charismatic leaders of France's class of 1998 opted for coaching roles almost as soon as their playing careers drew to a close. Jacquet's captain, Didier Deschamps, blazed the trail in that sense, leaving the pitch for the last time after a season at Valencia in 2001 and taking over the reins at Monaco a month later. Barely five years into his new vocation, the promising young tactician had already experienced a UEFA Champions League final with Monaco and led Juventus to the Serie B title, despite starting the season at a nine-point deficit.

Without a club since leaving Turin in 2007, Deschamps has yet to cross swords with his old team-mate Laurent Blanc, who took over at Bordeaux last summer. Nine years after converting Trezeguet's pass to earn the French a golden-goal victory over Paraguay in the Round of 16, Le Président worked similar magic during his first season in wine country. In fact, it took champions Lyon until the very last day of the campaign to seal their seventh successive Ligue 1 crown, after Blanc masterminded Bordeaux's dogged pursuit. Safe to say then that the unflappable former centre-back will be looking to deny them an eighth when the action gets going again in August.

Bernard Lama and Lionel Charbonnier, two unused squad members ten years ago, have also gone down the coaching route. Lama occupied the Kenya hot-seat for just five weeks before taking up a post alongside Vieira at a Senegalese training academy, while former Auxerre goalkeeper Charbonnier is currently enjoying life in the southern hemisphere as Tahiti's national technical director. And they may well be joined in their new pursuits by Bernard Diomede, who is currently studying for his coaching badges, and Vincent Candela, who became a players' agent after calling time on his own playing days.

Family affairs
An elegant attacking midfielder at his peak, Youri Djorkaeff wasted no time at all in fulfilling one of his pre-retirement dreams. Indeed, just a few months after ending his career in New York, the 40-year-old became president of his childhood club Union Generale Armenienne de Decines in April 2007. The outfit, based in the suburbs of Lyon, is practically a family enterprise for the Djorkaeffs as one of Youri's brothers is vice-president, the other is a member of the team and his father, former France international Jean, is the general manager.

Marcel Desailly can also be said to have kept things in the family as he has joined the staff at AC Milan, his former employers and a club which prides itself on maintaining strong links with its former stars. Aside from his duties as a scout for the Rossoneri, The Rock was also involved in organising the CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2008, which took place in his native Ghana, and can often be heard sharing his expertise on radio and television.

The media has also proved to be a popular destination for Desailly's colleagues, and Bixente Lizarazu, Christophe Dugarry and Franck Leboeuf have all tried their hands at punditry. Former Chelsea defender Leboeuf has also kept one foot in the game as player-coach for Hollywood United, an amateur side featuring both retired players and stars of the entertainment industry. Anthony LaPaglia, Vinnie Jones, Eric Wynalda, Alexi Lalas, Robbie Williams and Ziggy Marley can all be seen showing off their moves under the France 1998 veteran's watchful gaze.

Ambassador, driver and salesman
In complete contrast, some members of that history-making side have followed paths leading them far away from the game of football. Following his second taste of a FIFA World Cup Final in 2006, for example, Zinedine Zidane chose to use his fame to help charitable causes. Whether he is representing the European Leukodystrophy Association (ELA) or serving the United Nations as a Goodwill Ambassador alongside Ronaldo, the former Real Madrid playmaker is reluctant to turn his back on those in need. As a result, ten years after breaking millions of hearts there, Zizou recently visited Brazil to open a stadium in a Sao Paulo favela, and his presence helped secure nine tonnes of food for the local inhabitants.

Used in a holding role behind Zidane at the Stade de France, Emmanuel Petit is still following in his old team-mate's footsteps away from the pitch. The former Arsenal midfielder now spends much of his time contributing to the causes close to his heart, campaigning for the protection of the environment and against genetically modified organisms. As for Christian Karembeu, meanwhile, the FIFA Ambassador in Oceania now devotes his boundless energy to promoting tourism and development in his native New Caledonia.

Lifting the FIFA World Cup Trophy can open many doors, it seems, as Fabien Barthez has recently discovered a passion for automobile racing, aside from his role starting an academy for aspiring goalkeepers. Just as bizarrely, Alain Boghossian now holds the title of captain of the French junior golf team, while Stephane Guivarc'h spends the working week selling swimming pools. The former striker has not cut all his ties with the game, though, as he also turns out for a team in the Promotion d'Honneur, France's ninth tier.

Ten years on from the crowning glory of their careers, the 22 players who took France to the global summit will clearly have plenty of catching up to do this week.

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