Barthez retires from soccer

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Goalkeeper Fabien Barthez announced his retirement from soccer on Thursday, three months after helping France reach its second World Cup final.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:37 IST
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Goalkeeper Fabien Barthez announced his retirement from soccer on Thursday, three months after helping France reach its second World Cup final. "I am starting a new life," Barthez said. "I will continue to enjoy myself ... but without soccer. "Some goalkeepers continue until 37 or 38," the 35-year-old Barthez added. "But I needed a human adventure, something like that." Barthez, who helped France win the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship, is not attached to a club and has not played since July 9, when the French lost a shootout to Italy in the World Cup final. Regarded as a superb shot-stopper but prone to eccentric moments, Barthez made 87 international appearances for France - including a national record 17 over three World Cups. France coach Raymond Domenech chose Barthez as his starting goalkeeper at this year's tournament in Germany ahead of Gregory Coupet, and he played in all seven of France's games. The former Manchester United goalkeeper quit Marseille prior to the World Cup and hoped his close friendship with Toulouse coach Elie Baup would facilitate a move back to his hometown club, but the French team did not want to risk losing promising goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez. "The only clubs where I wanted to go were not very pleased to see me," Barthez said on French television. "(Toulouse) would have been perfect for me." Barthez said he is considering an offer to be a television commentator at next year's rugby union World Cup. "Why not? That would be interesting," Barthez said. "I grew up surrounded by rugby." Barthez made his international debut in a 1-0 loss to Australia in 1994. He missed France's final four World Cup qualifiers ahead of the 2006 tournament, but still got the starting job ahead of Coupet. Barthez quit Man United in January 2004 after 139 appearances and two English Premier League titles. He then rejoined Marseille, where he played 180 league games and in 1993 helped it become the only French team to win the European Cup. Barthez also played for Monaco, where he won French league titles in 1997 and 2000. Not everything was easy for Barthez, however. He never settled in at Man United and made several blunders that eventually pushed him back to France. In May 2005, Barthez received a six-month ban for spitting on Moroccan referee Abdellah el-Achiri during a friendly between Marseille and Wydad Casablanca three months earlier. "What happened is how things happen every day in the street," Barthez said. "When you receive an insult, you crack. There was an insult. What's done is done." (AP)

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