Where Are They Now? France’s 1998 World Cup Winners

The 1998 final saw new world champions, with France winning the World Cup for the first time on home soil. Goal.com takes a look back at that winning side and sees what has happened to them since that glorious night at the Stade de France.
Les Bleus became the fourth European nation after Italy, Germany and England to get their hands on the World Cup trophy when a fine generation of players came together at the 1998 finals. A 3-0 defeat of Brazil in the final was apt reward for a fine tournament from Aime Jacquet’s team.   


(1)  Fabien Barthez  

The eccentric French keeper moved to Manchester United in 2000 as the long sought after replacement for Peter Schmeichel. Despite two league titles Sir Alex Ferguson eventually lost patience with Barthez after a host of costly errors.   

He moved to Marseille in 2003 but controversy was never far away and he was banned for six months in 2005 for spitting at a referee in a friendly. In 2006 he announced his retirement, only to sign for Nantes soon after. His stay there however ended in 2007 after he was attacked by a fan.   

Aged 37 he is in limbo at the moment but can be found on the beach soccer tour circuit, and has even intimated that he would like to race Porsche GT 3s.  


(2)  Lilian Thuram  

Thuram only scored two international goals in his illustrious career and they both came in the semi-final against Croatia, which sealed France’s ticket to the final.  

Following the 1998 triumph he left Parma in 2001 to join Juventus where he notched up 145 appearances and four Serie A titles.  He moved to Barcelona in 2006.   

A move back to Paris St. Germain fell through last summer when doctors discovered a cardiac malformation similar to the one that caused the death of his brother. He officially retired as a result of the doctor’s findings. Thuram rejected an offer last year from French President Nicolas Sarkozy to join the government as minister for diversity. 

(3)  Marcel Desailly   

Desailly left Milan following the World Cup, joining Chelsea for £4.6 million. He left Stamford Bridge in 2004 after notching up over 200 league games for the Blues and becoming a firm fans’ favourite.   

He had a few seasons playing in Qatar where he finally hung up his boots in 2006.

He can now be found as a pitch-side expert for the BBC at international tournaments. He is also currently a Unicef ambassador to Ghana and is often mentioned as a possible candidate for the coaching position of Ghana's national team.

(4)  Frank Leboeuf  

The cultured centre-back formed a great partnership with Desailly at the heart of the French back-line, which came together once more when Desailly joined Leboeuf at Chelsea.   

After winning the FA Cup twice and the Cup Winners’ Cup, he left Stamford Bridge in 2001 to join Marseille. Like Desailly and many others of his age, he moved to Qatar for two seasons to make some money with Al-Sadd. He retired in 2005.  

It seems like a career in the movies beckons for Leboeuf although he will never be a Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt. His filmography includes ‘Taking Sides’ (2001), ‘Futbaal: The Price of Dreams’ (2007) and ‘The Ball Is Round’ (2008). He is currently filming ‘Caravaggio: The Search’.  

(5)  Bixente Lizarazu  

The left-back is one of France’s most decorated footballers with World Cup (1998), European Championship (2000), Champions League (2001), Confederations Cup (2001 and 2003), as well as six Bundesliga crowns while at Bayern Munich. He retired in 2006.   

Lizarazu has now become a champion in another sport altogether - namely jiu-jitsu. He was recently crowned European champion for his age group (35-40) in Lisbon. A keen surfer, he has also produced a line of board shorts under his name.    


(6)  Didier Deschamps  

The ‘Water Carrier’ lifted the trophy in the Stade de France to become the only Frenchman to skipper his country to World Cup glory. He also held a coveted trophy aloft two years later at Euro 2000.   

Deschamps left Juventus in 1999 for the magnet of many of his 1998 team mates - Chelsea. He retired in 2001 at the age of just 32 after one season at Valencia. On retiring he became a coach and following success at Monaco (League Cup 2003, Champions league final 2004), he joined Juventus in 2006, after Fabio Capello had resigned in the wake of the match-fixing scandal that saw Juve relegated.   

Deschamps successfully guided the Old Lady to promotion back to Serie A, but on the evening they were confirmed as Serie B champions (26 May 2007), he announced his resignation, following several clashes with the club's hierarchy.
The World Cup winning captain continues to be linked with vacant managers’ jobs and most recently was tipped for both the Chelsea and Portsmouth posts following the sackings of Luiz Felipe Scolari and Tony Adams, respectively. He is also tipped as a future France national team coach.

(7)  Emmanuel Petit   

Petit scored France’s third goal in the final against Brazil to seal the win in style. He left Arsenal in 2000 for Barcelona, but he never really had an impact at the Nou Camp due to injuries and his failure to settle. He joined Chelsea in 2001 but was forced to retire in 2005 due to constant knee trouble.   

Emmanuel Petit is currently an ambassador for Barclays Spaces for Sports, the community sports scheme that expanded globally in April 2008, with projects in South Africa and the United States.

(8)  Christian Karembeu  

The midfielder was at Real Madrid during the 1998 finals tournament, but left in 2000 to join Middlesbrough. He had further spells at Olympiakos, Servette in Switzerland and Bastia in France.   

He now works as a consultant commentator for the matches broadcast by French television and Orange TV. Christian is also an ambassador for his country of origin- New Caledonia.  

(9)  Zinedine Zidane  

Zizou needs no introduction as he is one of the finest footballers to have graced the world stage. His two goals in the final sent France on the road to ultimate victory. He retired from international football in 2004, but was tempted back in 2006 by Raymond Domenech.   

Zidane appeared for France at the 2006 World Cup final, but blotted his copybook somewhat by getting sent off in the final after his attack on Marco Materazzi.  

Zidane has been a U.N. goodwill ambassador since 2001, but has been rumoured to be getting back into football lately, specifically with a role as world ambassador for Real Madrid.  Former Blancos president, Florentino Perez, is reportedly interested in bringing him back to the club and he could well return in the summer.  


(10)  Youri Djorkaeff  

Djorkaeff was plying his trade at Inter when France triumphed in 1998, but he left the San Siro in 1999 to join Bundesliga side Kaiserslautern.  He caused somewhat of a surprise in 2002 when he joined Bolton Wanderers in the Premier League.   

He played three times for Blackburn in 2004 before joining MLS side NY/NJ Metro Stars.  He retired in 2006 after an ankle injury. 

Youri Djorkaeff has recently been offered an advisory role at Paris St. Germain.  

(11) Stepahane Guivarc’h  

Striker Guivarc’h is probably the least well known of the 1998 winning side and the one whose name is forgotten in pub quizzes. He made it into the French squad on the back of a superb season for Auxerre, but never really managed to repeat it.  

He was signed by Newcastle as a World Cup winner in 1998, but played just four times for the Geordie club before being sold to Glasgow Rangers. He returned to Auxerre in 1999 where he scored 25 goals in 60 appearances. He ended his career at Guingamp in 2002 having notched up 14 international caps and just one goal.     

He now works for Canal + as a consultant. 


(12)  Patrick Vieira  

Vieira came on with 15 minutes remaining in the final to replace Youri Djorkaeff. The Senegalese-born midfielder enjoyed his best years at Arsenal where he won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups under Arsene Wenger.   

After over 400 games for the Gunners he joined Juventus in 2005, but spent just a season with the Old Lady. Vieira currently plays for Inter and is the only member of the final side still playing professionally. 

(14)  Alain Boghossian  

Boghossian played only one season in France for Marseille before moving abroad and enjoying various spells at Napoli, Sampdoria, Parma and Espanyol. Injury caused him to retire in 2003 after just 5 league appearances in Spain.   

Following France’s relative failure at Euro 2008 and the clamour for the sacking of Raymond Domenech, Boghossian was named as the assistant to Domenech by the French Football Federation.   

(15)  Christophe Dugarry  

Dugarry was talented enough to be signed by both Milan and Barcelona in his early career, but he never hit the heights he had promised in his younger days. He joined Marseille in 1998 before moving onto rivals Bordeaux. He had a successful season in England with Birmingham, but left in 2004 for one final pay-day in Qatar with Qatar SC.   

He now writes a column for French football newspaper L’Equipe.  

Coach: Aime Jacquet  

Jacquet retired following the World Cup triumph and became technical director of the French Football Federation. He left that position in 2006.   

Mathew Burt, Goal.com