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French great Zidane to play Sydney exhibition soccer match – (SN)

in Ligue 1 16 May 2008

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French football legend Zinedine Zidane will play an exhibition match in Sydney next month alongside a number of teammates from his 1998 World Cup winning side, the promoter said Friday.

The three-time world footballer of the year will line up with French teammates Marcel Desailly and Robert Pires at the Sydney Football Stadium on June 1, said promoter Alain Barataud.

He will play a team drawn from players from the Australian side, which narrowly failed to qualify for the 1998 World Cup.

Australia and Everton midfielder Tim Cahill, who is recuperating in Sydney after foot surgery, said bringing Zidane to Australia was a coup.

“Zizou is one of the biggest players in the world, he is poetry in motion, and he is so passionate about football,” Cahill told reporters. “What a special opportunity this is for Australian kids to see him.”

Zidane will also conduct a coaching clinic for youngsters at the stadium on June 2.

“Once he found out it was for kids, he said OK, no problem, and he is donating his services for free,” Barataud said.

Zidane, regarded as one of the game's greats, was infamously sent off in the 2006 World Cup final for headbutting Italian defender Marco Materazzi, an incident that preceded France losing the final in a penalty shoot-out.

He retired from professional football after the tournament.

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