Barthez: Euro 2016 could unite France again

The former Manchester United goalkeeper says that a major tournament on home soil always represents a unique opportunity to bring people together
Fabian Barthez is hoping that hosting Euro 2016 will bring the best out of France - just as it did in 1998 when the country staged the World Cup.

The now-retired 42-year-old was a member of the Bleus squad that united a nation with their famous 3-0 victory over Brazil at the Stade de France.

Consequently, Barthez, who conceded just two goals during the tournament,  believes that the power of home support can never be overestimated.

"I refer to the 1998 finals a lot," the iconic goalkeeper is quoted as saying by Uefa's official website. "It was a real celebration in every city in France.

"Aime Jacquet kept us grounded but you could sense a buzz. From the quarter-final stage we started to feel something different in the crowd.

"We remained focused on the competition, though, thanks to the coach who kept us in a bubble.

"It was a fantastic time and everyone in the team was united. In difficult times football can bring you back to life.

"Everyone is hoping the national team can do well. Every major tournament such as a Euro or World Cup is a celebration of football."

Barthez was capped 87 times by his country between 1994 and 2006, during which time he also won a European Championship, in 2000.