Zinédine Zidane reunites world champions twenty-five years after the Blues’ 1998 crowning

A quarter of a century ago, on July 12, 1998, France shook a moment of joy, Zinédine Zidane scored a brace in the World Cup final against Brazil (3-0). On Wednesday 12 July, the former tricolor international (108 appearances, 31 goals) gathered some of his former teammates in Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône) to celebrate the 25th anniversary of football’s first planetary coronation French. For the occasion we had to settle for the “Z5”, the 5-a-side football pitch owned by the “Zizou” in the city, instead of the emblematic Stade de France.

Four times winner of the Champions League as manager of Real Madrid (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018), Zinédine Zidane announced in June his intention to organize this commemoration. Victory in the final against Brazil “it united France and days like this allow us to celebrate the occasion. We also know that he continues to inspire other generations and Didier [Deschamps] was also the star relay in 2018»the former Blues No. 10 assured Wednesday.

On the programme: a football tournament, some padel matches between world champions, a paid gala dinner and a concert. About 250 spectators paid the forty euros needed to attend the event, a far cry from the 80,000 in attendance on July 12, 1998.

Each team benefited from the services of a 1998 world champion drawn by lot, among those present – ​​Bernard Diomède, Lionel Charbonnier, Christian Karembeu, Fabien Barthez, Sabri Lamouchi (present in Aimé Jacquet’s enlarged list in 1998), Bixente Lizarazu and Alain Boghossian. And Zinédine Zidane took the opportunity to gratify the spectators with some technical gestures that have hardly been erased over the years: acceleration, sombrero, lowering of the chest, volley and goal.

“It remains a fabulous emotion”

While the announcer confused Lionel Charbonnier and Alain Boghossian, blaming the passage of time – “Guys, now you all have the same haircut! » -, the proud atmosphere, under the raw heat, masked the small enmities that could divide some of the “1998”. “We are a family”insisted Bernard Diomede. “We never left”, added Fabien Barthez. Cold for years, coach Didier Deschamps and former striker – and consultant – Christophe Dugarry “we played padel together this morning”we are insured in the entourage of champions.

Former manager Aimé Jacquet, who made the trip for the 20th anniversary of his coronation in June 2018, was absent but his assistant, Roger Lemerre, was present in the stands. Requested elsewhere, however, Youri Djorkaeff, decisive passer in the final after doubling Zinedine Zidane’s corner just before the break. The director general of the Fifa Foundation was in Geneva on Wednesday to meet Gianni Infantino, in view of the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand (July 20-August 20).

Committed to preparing for the 2018 World Cup with his players during the twenty years of his coronation, Didier Deschamps responded favorably to the invitation this time, despite his competitive relationship with Zinedine Zidane. The former playmaker aspired to be coach of France at the end of 2022, but the 2018 world champion has finally returned to lead the Blues until 2026. And Wednesday the atmosphere was festive.

“We keep meeting people who tell us “Ah, July 12, 98, I was there!” It remains a fabulous emotion”, tasted the coach of the French team and captain of the world champions in 1998. Even twenty-five years later, even with a few hairs less and more difficulty in chaining the races, the actors of the first coronation of the Azzurri are aware that they have marked history . As Zinedine Zidane summarized: “We’re not going to talk to each other all the time about 1998. But hey, we did and it was cool. »