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Zidane hails France's 'beautiful' Euro 2016 win

 Former national soccer team player of France, Zinedine Zidane, right,  speaks during the final bid presentation for the host country of the Euro 2016...
 Former national soccer team player of France, Zinedine Zidane, the CEO of the French Soccer Federation, Jaques Lambert, the President of the French S...

Switzerland Soccer Euro 2016

Former national soccer team player of France, Zinedine Zidane, right, speaks during the final bid presentation for the host country of the Euro 2016...

Switzerland Soccer Euro 2016

Former national soccer team player of France, Zinedine Zidane, the CEO of the French Soccer Federation, Jaques Lambert, the President of the French S...

Zinedine Zidane is back to his winning ways.
Four years after the ignominious headbutt that ended his career, Zidane was France's chief ambassador as it won the right to host football's 2016 European Championship.
For arguably the greatest player of his generation, it was sweet redemption after the bitter end to Zidane's playing career. He was shamefully sent off for a vicious attack on Italy's Marco Materazzi in the dying minutes of the World Cup final. France then lost on penalties.
"It's a beautiful victory," beamed Zidane, after the tight 7-6 vote of UEFA's executive committee to hold the tournament in France rather than Turkey. Italy had already been eliminated.
"I am happy for France, for the organization and for all those people who didn't experience 1998 and who will have the chance to experience with this Euro something magnificent," he told LCI television, referring to the World Cup 12 years ago that France won on home soil.
Zidane played a key part of the final effort to convince European football's governing body to support France, joining the stage with President Nicolas Sarkozy. President Abdullah Gul did his part for Turkey, while Italy's only star personality was legendary defender Paolo Maldini.
For Maldini, the result was a repeat of the Euro 2000 final. He captained Italy in defeat, while Zidane triumphed.
Zidane reminisced about other matches, recalling the joy he had as a child watching France beat Portugal 3-2 in the Euro 1984 semifinal. The winning goal scorer on that epic night in Marseille: Michel Platini, now the head of European football's governing body, sitting in the front row.
"I was lucky enough to be in the stadium near the pitch and lived the emotion," Zidane told a 10-year-old kid as he sat on the stage at a Geneva conference center. "That is the type of experience I want to live again. Winning is beautiful but it's great to see all the people in the streets partying. There was no difference between people in terms of race."
The Euro 2016 means France hosts a third major football championship in 32 years.
Zidane, of Algerian descent, said the next tournament would be special for him now that he has four sons.
"This is what I would like to give my children, and to all those who want to see the Euro in France," he said.


Updated : 2021-05-18 05:29 GMT+08:00