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Name Bixente Lizarazu
Gender Male
Ethnic French
Job French Footballer
Desc With 97 caps, left-back Bixente Lizarazu helped France win its first World Cup in 1998 and the subsequent European Championship in 2000. He also earned a score of domestic and cup medals at club sides Bayern Munich and Bordeaux, most notably six Bundesliga titles, the 2000/01 Champions League, and five German Cups

Affiliation

Org French National Team
Club as Player Bayern Munich
  Marseille FC
  Bayern Munich
  Athletic Bilbao
  Bordeaux

Relationship

Teammate Zinedine Zidane
  Emmanuel Petit
  Patrick Vieira
1998 07 12
World Cup 1998 final where France defeat Brazil 3-0. Zinedine Zidane score 2 goals with assist from Emmanuel Petit and Youri Djorkaeff. also final goal came from Emmanuel Petit with assist by Patrick Vieira

2013 10 26 Retrieve

[Bixente Lizarazu responds to Evra] This is appalling. In response, yes, I was voted the best left-back in the world and my CV spoke for itself. But that’s not important. He said that I did not shake his hand when he arrived in French squad. I don’t ever remember crossing him. When I stopped playing international football, he started. The timing of his outburst is very bad – we have a World Cup play-off in a month. Honestly, it’s ridiculous. We already lost him in South Africa and now we lose him again

2018 02 09 Interview

[q: Tell us about the FC Bayern Youth Cup and what it holds for youngsters] The Youth Cup is a world competition for young players that Bayern is organizing, with India in the final in Munich in May. The players who are selected will have the big chance to train for five days in Säbener Strasse, FC Bayern München’s training camp, to see the players and play at Allianz Arena, which is unusual because the stadium is meant only for professionals. So they’ll be lucky to play the finals there. Maybe, if they are good, they can go to the Bayern academy and even sign on professionally with the club. You never know. It can be a dream for players to go to Europe and to be around one of the best football clubs in the world.

I think this is a great experience, and Bayern is giving this chance in India, China, Thailand, Poland and Nigeria, among other places.

[q: Bayern have won seven of the last 10 Bundesliga seasons. Only Borussia Dortmund and VfL Wolfsburg were able to break this monopoly] It’s not always easy to stay at the top. Bayern built a good team and they have had success. But even if you have success, sometimes you can have less motivation. So you have to come back with renewed motivation, which is not easy. This is a very positive philosophy by Bayern that it’s never finished. You want more titles, more Bundesligas, more Champions League titles. This is the culture at all big clubs, be it Bayern, Real Madrid or Barcelona. They (Bayern) are doing a good job and that’s why they are the best team in the Bundesliga and one of the best in Europe.

The competition in Europe is more difficult because you have to compete against Barcelona, Madrid and (the) Manchester (clubs). You can’t win the Champions League every year, but in Bundesliga it is true that there is a big difference between Bayern and the others. But Dortmund were in the Champions League final (in 2013). It was quite good, what they have done

[q: Liverpool and Manchester City recently spent big on Virgil van Djik and Aymeric Laporte. Do you feel defenders are becoming more important in today’s game?] No, I think you will spend more money all the time on offensive and creative players. I’ll say the truth: Scoring goals is the most difficult thing to do. But if you want a good team, you need very good defensive players. You have to find a good mix, but the offensive player will always be more expensive.

The (transfer) market has changed a lot. In my time, this kind of price was impossible. So, now you buy a defensive player for €60 million (around Rs477 crore), it’s amazing. €222 million for Neymar, €180 million for Mbappé or Coutinho for €160 million. You can’t compare the value of a player now. And if the player is being valued so highly, it also means that the clubs have money. There’s a big difference in the money clubs have now versus what they had 20 years ago

[q: You were a left-back. How has the art of defending evolved over the years? Do you think fullbacks are more attack-minded now?] For me, they are not attacking more. I was a very offensive left-back and so was Roberto Carlos. I feel the new generation of players is better offensively than they are defensively. They don’t have a good balance. So now you have left-backs who are offensive and have good technical abilities, but are a little weak in defence.

I don’t know how to explain that. The game is still the same, the position is still the same. You have to be a good defender and also put in good crosses. So there is no evolution in the positions except for maybe the defensive midfielder. Earlier, this position was all about running, but now it’s about the technical player who gives the first pass. In my time, it was more about tackles and running. Now, for instance, with players such as Pirlo, the first pass is very important. Also, central defensive players during my time were just defensive, but now they have to be good with their quality of passing too.

[q: India hosted the Fifa Under-17 World Cup last year and its Indian Super League can be an attractive prospect. What else do you think needs to be done to promote football here?] Besides having a football club in every town, there’s something easy you can do. It’s very easy to organize football training sessions. You just need that. You can play football alone with one ball and a wall. You pass or shoot at the wall and then control the ball. You can play it with anyone, anywhere-on sand, on grass

[q: You started your career in France, then played in Spain and Germany too. What can we learn from the level of grass-roots football in these countries?] I would say the training techniques and basic exercise. It’s like a pianist. Every day, a pianist repeats the same movement to train his fingers. It’s the same for football players. You have to train every day till the time you don’t have to think about a movement and do it naturally. If you think too much about dribbling, moving the ball from left to right, by the time you think all this, the chance is gone.

There is something very important in football called the triangle, where, if one guy has the ball, he must have two possibilities of passing. It is difficult to defend against the triangle. Your teammates must move accordingly to give you these two possibilities. Physical condition and tactics are also very important, but ability with the ball is the most important thing, especially for young players.

[q: The 2018 World Cup is just months away. Who do you think are the contenders for the trophy in Russia? Do France have a chance?] France have a chance to win the World Cup. Germany, Brazil and Spain are also favourites this time. I believe more in Germany, France and Brazil than Spain. Spain are very good, but they have won so much that maybe they don’t have the energy you need to reach something you haven’t reached in a long time. It’s been a long time since France and Brazil have had success. And Germany can win the second title with the same generation. For me, it will be between these four teams, but you can always have a surprise in the World Cup.

France have a good mix. The only weakness is lack of experience. But they have the best young players-Mbappé, Dembélé, Pogba, Martial and Coman. And one important striker, not so young, is Griezmann.

[q: What do you think about the use of the video assistant referee?] I was one of the first to say ‘let’s see’, because if it’s possible to have less mistakes in football, then that’s very important. But using video is so troublesome that at the moment I wouldn’t want it, because it’s causing more problems. Maybe we need to try it longer. But I am not happy with the way we are using it.

2018 03 21 Retrieve

[q: Can you clear this one up: is your official name Bixente or Vincent?] Bixente. I was born in the Basque part of France and my parents wanted to officially declare my name as Bixente. But the people in the administration there said no – at that time a Basque name wasn’t allowed and so they had to use the French translation, Vincent.

Everyone in the Basque country called me Bixente until I became famous in football and journalists started saying ‘Vincent Lizarazu puts in a cross’. I was like, ‘Vincent? Who is this guy? I don’t know him!’ It was never my name, so I got a lawyer to make it official that my name was Bixente, as my parents wanted. Today, my son is Tximista and daughter Uhaina, both Basque names

[q: What was it like playing alongside Eric Cantona while you were at Bordeaux?] I didn’t play with him for long, but he was no problem at all. I know what he did in England was famous – fantastic goals and also the problem with that fan. I saw what he said in FourFourTwo, that he should have hit the fan harder! There was nothing unusual at Bordeaux apart from a cup match that we played once: we had a penalty and it was so windy that day. The wind was against him, so he tried a Panenka and the ball never even reached the line!

[q: Did Bordeaux’s run from the Intertoto Cup to the UEFA Cup final in 1995/96 help to earn you moves afterwards?] Yes, I think it came from that – not the final against Bayern Munich, because in the second leg I had to go off injured, but from what we did in the UEFA Cup that season. Everybody in Europe saw us. Zinedine Zidane went to Juventus, Christophe Dugarry went to Milan and I went to Athletic Bilbao, then Bayern

[q: Just how good was Zinedine Zidane?] When Zizou first arrived at Bordeaux, he wasn’t in fantastic physical shape. It was hard for him to get through 90 minutes and he worked a lot on that. But he was a genius. In training he’d do things that were a little bit strange.

He didn’t have a classic technique, the things you learn at soccer schools. He had the technique from the street and movements that were impossible for everyone except him. Alone he could change a game and make a goal, but he played for the team as well. If you make a run three times and the ball is never coming, the third time you think, ‘Fk it, he is never giving me the ball.’ But it was never like that with Zidane – when you made a run he would always give you the ball, exactly two metres in front of you, perfectly timed.

He knew his team-mates wouldn’t make that run for nothing, and when a player is thinking like that, everybody wants to run for him. When you had the ball in defence, you would always search for Zizou as you knew you’d never lose the ball with him, even if the pass was bad. It was always a good pass when it went to him. Playing with Zizou was so easy.

[q: You were the first French player ever to sign for Athletic Bilbao. How proud are you to have represented a team who only recruit Basque footballers?] It’s difficult to speak about my year at Athletic Bilbao because it was the start of my injury problems. It was a football decision to go there, as Spanish football was what I watched when I was young – we lived on the border with Spain and I would often go and see Real Sociedad games. I wanted to experience playing football there, but other people wanted to talk about me being the first French player at Athletic Bilbao, not me. Then I was injured and it wasn’t possible for me to play my normal game for them, so it wasn’t really a fun season for me.

[q: Do you feel more French or Basque?] I feel French and Basque. In France you have some different places where there is a different culture. Corsica or Brittany isn’t the same as Paris, and the Basque country isn’t the same either. There are a few different things, but that’s great.

[q: How important would you say Aime Jacquet was for your football career?] I started as a professional with Aime Jacquet at Bordeaux – I played out on the left wing at first – and all of my best days with the national team were with him. He was the kind of coach you were ready to break your leg for, like Ottmar Hitzfeld at Bayern. I had a really good relationship with Jacquet, lots of talking, as I was a player who needed to understand things and chat to the trainer. I was interested in the tactics and what we did in training sessions.

Discussion was easy with him. He also helped me in an important moment for my career. I was still having problems with injuries during my first season at Bayern in 1997/98, and I lost all of my self-confidence. But Jacquet came to visit me in Munich and he said, ‘If you can come back 100 per cent fit, then you’ll be my left-back for the national team.’

That gave me the power to train really hard. I managed to get fit for the World Cup and I think I played a good tournament. In the same season, I’d gone through the worst moment of my career and become a world champion.

[q: You reached the semi-finals of Euro 96 two years earlier but lost out to the Czech Republic at Old Trafford. Was it seen as a success or failure?] It gave us some confidence. We lost on penalties so we were close to reaching the final – it wasn’t because we weren’t good enough. It was the start of a new generation. David Ginola and Cantona weren’t playing any more, and Jacquet decided to give players like Zidane and Youri Djorkaeff the keys to the national team. Euro 96 was like training for the World Cup.

I wasn’t in the team for the first game of the tournament, but then I got in and that was the start for me. Even though I made my debut in 1992, the Euros was when I began to feel like an important player in the France team.

[q: Did you go into the 1998 World Cup expecting to win it on home soil?] We didn’t really know, it was impossible to say. We arrived at the World Cup very sure of our defensive qualities, but not overly sure about our offensive potential. But in the end, everyone was scoring – attackers, midfielders and defenders. Lilian Thuram scored two in the semis, Laurent Blanc scored, and I scored one against Saudi Arabia.

Scoring that goal at the World Cup felt amazing as I’d come so far from that f
king injury. It felt like a gift: ‘I give you a goal as you’ve had some bad moments, so now you need a little bit of sunshine back.’

[q: You played alongside Lilian Thuram, Laurent Blanc and Marcel Desailly – how good was that France defence?] With us four and Fabien Barthez playing in goal behind us we never lost, which is amazing. It was a great feeling to be unbeatable – it wasn’t only that we were strong individually, together we were much stronger. If I lost a tackle, Marcel would get back and make the tackle. If he lost a tackle, I would be there to help him. That defensive quality helped us to be world champions, but the midfield played a big part as well – a good defence is never just the back four and the keeper.

[q: What did you think of Laurent Blanc kissing Fabien Barthez’s head before every match? A bit weird, wasn’t it?] It was funny! But it’s a bit like wearing the same socks or underwear – they had to keep doing it before every game and we wanted them to do it, as it was good luck. In football you start believing in such things, like if they don’t do it, we will lose!

[q: What are your memories of the World Cup final against Brazil?] We were so relaxed, which is important for a game with that kind of pressure. My experiences taught me that more pressure means you should relax more; less pressure and you should put more aggression into the situation. Before the final it’s not necessary to say, ‘Let’s go guys, we’ve got to fight’. It’s better to make a few jokes and relax, rather than saying, ‘Tonight, I am playing the game of my life’. You know it is, but you’ll have a bad match if you say that too much. On the morning of the final we were all talking about Ronaldo, about how he played, and that we had to be so careful.

He was an amazing player – impossible to control – so we just started laughing about it, as we didn’t have any solution. But in the end we were mentally much better than Brazil and we controlled the match – it was the easiest game of the whole tournament for us, even though they had many fantastic players. When we went to receive the trophy I saw my father in the stands. He was crying, and I will always remember lifting the cup. Zizou handed me the cup, I lifted it up and then said, ‘Fk! I made it!’ Nobody can ever take that away from me. You can never be an ex-World Cup winner. You stay a World Cup winner forever.

[q: What did you think when a lot of French people started naming their babies Bixente after the World Cup?] It was funny! And not only Bixente but Zinedine and Lilian, too. It was crazy after the World Cup, you can’t imagine it. When we went into a restaurant they’d often put on the music that people had played during the World Cup, Gloria Gaynor … [starts humming the opening bars of I Will Survive] Everyone would start singing it. For six months it was totally crazy.

[q: The 1998 World Cup win was great, but could you have dreamed of then winning Euro 2000 two years later?] That was so amazing, winning the final against Italy with a golden goal as well. We played a fantastic competition and were a good offensive team, but Italy were great in the final, tactically. They nicked a goal and it was tough to come back against them. We were very lucky to find a solution in the end – thank you to Sylvain Wiltord and David Trezeguet!

[q: The team was very multi-cultural. Do you think that helped in some way?] We weren’t looking at that, and where we all came from. We were just friends. We didn’t look at the fact that one was from Martinique, one from Ghana, one from the Basque country. We were just friends, all speaking the same language, having fun and enjoying being together

[q: How hard was it for you to miss out on the 1999 Champions League Final?] It was very hard – I’d injured my knee playing for France, I was out for three months and I couldn’t be ready for the final. We were the better team in that final. I couldn’t do anything apart from go out onto the pitch after the game and help my friends who were crying. It was so terrible to see all of my team-mates in that state. That day gave us the power to go and win the Champions League two years later, I’m very sure about it. We took all of the frustration from 1999 and then used it to help us beat Valencia in the final at San Siro. I couldn’t do anything apart from go out onto the pitch after the game and help my friends who were crying

[q: How much pressure did you feel in the 2001 shootout against Valencia?] I wasn’t in the first five penalty-takers. I missed in the shootout against Italy in 1998 and said, ‘OK, I will never take a penalty again’. But then came that Champions League final and I chose to go, because after five penalties we were still level. I hit that penalty for Bayern with full power. It was a big emotion to score but it wasn’t over until Oliver Kahn made the winning save – an incredible moment. Oliver was 50 metres away but we ran like crazy. I think we were going quicker than Usain Bolt! It was a fantastic moment. I’ll always remember that.

[q: You became the first player ever to be world and European champion for club and country at the same time. How bigan honour wasthat?] Yes, I was the first one ever to win those titles at the same time with the World Cup in 1998, the European Championship in 2000 and Champions League in 2001, followed by the Intercontinental Cup in Japan when Bayern beat Boca Juniors. At that point I’d won everything. It was incredible – I’d reached all of my goals. In 2001, we were fighting with Schalke for the Bundesliga and won the title in the last minute, and I was named the best left-back in the world, so that year really was something special. It was like the Everest – the second Everest of my career, because 1998 was also Everest.

[q: Who was the main character in that Bayern side: Kahn or Stefan Effenberg?] Both. When you play with such players you are not afraid to go to war on the pitch. Maybe we didn’t have the talent of the Bayern team that did the Treble in 2013 – they were better technically – but mentally we were so strong and won six Bundesliga titles. When you have people on your team like Kahn, Effenberg, Jens Jeremies and Sammy Kuffour, we were very difficult to play.

[q: Did you really slap Lothar Matthaus at training when you were at Bayern?] I shouldn’t have done that, although he did touch me first – I have to say that! I reacted but these things can happen and when I see Lothar we joke about it, and afterwards we had a beer. There are some moments when you’ve got to show that you’re there and that you’ve got some character. It’s really important to show that in a team. I’m Basque and I’ve got character, just like Matthaus, but he was a fantastic player

[q: Did you ever have the opportunity to go and play in the Premier League?] I had the chance, I think in about 2001 or 2002, to go to Manchester United, but it stopped very quickly as Bayern said no. Alex Ferguson was keen to sign me and United had talks with Bayern, but Bayern said there was no question that I’d be leaving and so I was staying with them. I was very happy in Munich, but Manchester United did try.

[q: Was moving to Marseille in 2004 the biggest regret of your football career?] If you don’t try anything, then you make no mistakes. When Ottmar Hitzfeld left Bayern, I thought maybe it was the end of my story there and it would be great to go back to France to finish my career. But when I went to Marseille there were a lot of problems. We had two different presidents and three coaches, so it was a moment when I didn’t like what was going on.

I had such a bad relationship with the last coach [Philippe Troussier] that I decided I couldn’t continue like that. I didn’t want my job to be like that, so I chose to go back to Bayern Munich. What was quite funny was that I spent five months with Marseille and then five months with Munich during that season. Bayern won the league and the German Cup and I was voted the best left-back in Germany, yet in Marseille they all said I was finished!

But I wasn’t finished and I was very proud about how I’d reacted. Sometimes you can have problems, but the most important thing is to react well.

[q: When you went back to Bayern, why did you wear the No.69 on your shirt? Were there jokes about that?] Yes there were! It was because Lucio took the No.3, which was the shirt I’d usually wear. All of my best moments had come with that number, and I was thinking, ‘S
t, what number can I take?’ I don’t know why, but I had this crazy idea because I was born in 1969, I’m 1.69m and, well, my weight was not quite 69, it was about 74, but I said it was 69 and took the number for all of those reasons. Of course, people were thinking there was another reason […] it was funny. Football should be funny

[q: What went wrong for France at the 2002 World Cup and at Euro 2004?] It’s very difficult to stay right at the top for a long time. We stayed there for two competitions and Spain did it for three, but we saw what happened to them in 2014. For four years we were the best team in the world, which isn’t too bad. But you can have so much success that you get offers coming from everywhere, and sometimes you’ll lose a bit of your concentration and discipline.

The 2002 World Cup was the worst because we still had a very strong team, but didn’t manage to emulate the successes from 1998 and 2000 and say, ‘OK guys, now we’ve got to be more focused again, it’s another competition.’ We started badly, lost [to Senegal] in the first match and then you’re already trying to come back.

[q: While you were working as a pundit for French TV, Patrice Evra called you a tramp. Why did he react so badly?] I’m not in Patrice’s brain and I don’t want to be! He said what he said and it’s his problem. [FFT: He also said that you’d never been voted the best left-back in the world, even though you had been] I think he forgets, but I don’t forget and nor does anybody else. I won the four most important titles and that will never go away.

[q: Who is your favourite modern-day left-back and who do you admire?] David Alaba. It’s true that he played in a few different positions at Bayern under Pep Guardiola, and I also saw him playing in a different position for Austria at the Euros in France, but he has very strong potential. In Spain I’ve always liked Jordi Alba and I remember how fantastic he was at Euro 2012. But over the past 10 years the best full-back has been Philipp Lahm, who played on the right and left – such a clever player.

[q: Is it true that as soon as you had retired from the game, you began to knock people out just for fun?] [Briefly looks a bit puzzled while FFT talks him through ‘knocking people out for fun’] Ah … I see, but jiu-jitsu is not just about punching people. It’s very technical and an interesting martial art. I have been doing it for 10 years now and I love it – it’s very good for fitness. The experience that I have now gained in martial arts would have really helped me as a defender in football, I’m sure, as you learn a lot about how to use the energy of the opponent to your advantage and how to position yourself to block them

[q: Did you actually become a European champion in jiu-jitsu? What did your opponents think when they realised they were facing a World Cup winner?] Laughs]</b> They wanted to kill me! I took part in three tournaments, and before one of them started, one of the guys was saying, ‘We will kill you’. But I still won the competition! I was a blue belt – it was the European Championship in my age group and the whole thing was such a crazy experience. There were 500 people there with hard faces because this is fighting, but it was lots of fun

[q: What are you doing in your role as ambassador with Bayern Munich?] Football is changing a lot – in my time playing for them, Bayern Munich was a German and a European brand, but now it is a worldwide brand like Adidas or Nike. Really, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Bayern Munich are the most powerful football clubs in the world in terms of what they have achieved in the history of football, the power they have today and the quality of their teams. So the marketing we do is not just in Germany, it’s everywhere.

I’m travelling to places in China, New York, South America and maybe Indonesia, too. We have got four ambassadors at the moment – me, Paul Breitner, Hasan Salihamidzic and Giovane Elber – and there might be some more as there is plenty of work to do. Bayern Munich is a special club with a family spirit – a Bavarian spirit – and though we are worldwide now, we have to keep those values. It’s an interesting job – I played for the club for nine years, so I love it.

[q: If football is your first sporting love, which would you pick as your second favourite sport?] I love so many different sports. When I was younger I played tennis, football, surfing, skiing, sailing, rugby, handball, athletics and pelote basque – special sports from the Basque country. I liked to play everything. Sport used to be for competition but now it’s sport for living, to feel happy and connect with nature, surfing in Polynesia – you can’t imagine how beautiful it is. I will go skiing in the French Alps and cycling in the Pyrenees, – I’m interested in it all.

My problem is I’d like to have another 500 years to go and do what I want to do, but I know that’s not possible. I want to go all over the world, to surf or dive. I was recently in Polynesia diving with sharks – about 200 sharks all around me. It’s fantastic, you don’t have to be afraid. For me it’s impossible to stop doing sport. I’d like to be an athlete until the last moment

2019 04 05 Interview

[q: You were part of the golden generation of French footballers that won the World Cup in 1998 and the Euro in 2000. How was it to play with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Marcel Desailly, Laurent Blanc, Fabien Barthez, Didier Deschamps …?] It was a fantastic experience, fantastic to be together. We realised the best dream that you can attain as a footballer. It was a very strong generation. We all were very strong with our clubs. We had done well everywhere in Europe -whether it was in England, Germany, Italy or Spain. Now, it’s more than 20 years to that World Cup win, and I am proud of the achievement. We were friends off the field too

[q: Tell us about the final, where France defeated Brazil 3-0. Did you ever imagine that you would be defeating the favourites so convincingly?] No, never even in our dreams. When you play the final, you expect it to be very tough. And to win 3-0, that too against Brazil was incredible. It was the easiest match for us in the entire tournament. The bottomline was that Brazil didn’t play well on that day and we played very good. Actually, the pressure was on the Brazilians and they took too much load

[q: The French national team during that time had a talisman, and his name was Zidane. How did he function?] He was a very technical player. His passing quality and the precision of his passes were incredible. Besides, he was a team man. It was a pleasure to play with him. He was very generous. For such a player, you feel like doing everything for him. Every time I made my runs from the left flank, I knew an accurate pass would come from his feet. He was a magician. It was my honour to play with him in Bordeaux as well as the French national team

[q: You guys had a pre-match ritual during the 1998 World Cup where Blanc would kiss the head of goalkeeper Barthez. Was it some kind of a superstition?] Yes, it was a superstition between Blanc and Barthez. Between me, Blanc, Desailly, (Lilian) Thuram and Barthez, we believed a lot in that ritual. And what’s incredible, the five of us never lost a match whenever we played together. We were very strong in defence. Not only we were good individually, but we were very secure collectively

[q: You are a Bayern Munich legend and won the Champions League in 2000-01. How do you rate that Bayern team of the late 90s and early 2000s?] We had some of the best footballing talents. The likes of Olivier Kahn, Stefan Effenberg, Mehmet Scholl, Elber, Owen Hargreaves … Then we had fantastic team spirit. It was a good mix - fighters, technical ones, strategists, mentally strong guys

[q: In 1999, Bayern had lost to Manchester United in the Champions League final very narrowly. How driven were you guys two years after?] It was all about revenge. The defeat in 1999 was terrible for us but it helped us towards attaining glory. The very next day after we lost to United, we were thinking of revenge. We were the best team in 1999 but five minutes changed everything

[q: Coming to the current France team, it is also full of talented players like Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba … What’s your assessment of this generation?] It is difficult to compare generations. Our team sustained supremacy for four years. We won the World Cup, the Euro and were by far the best team (in the world). This generation is starting, and they had an incredible start when they won the World Cup in Russia (2018). If they can win the next Euro, then they’ll come close to us. We need to give them more time to have more success

[q: How do you rate Kylian Mbappe?] He has the potential to be the next Zidane, or the next best player of the world. He is very good at his age and has a very good head on his shoulders. He is serious about the sport, is a thorough professional. It is a good mix to have and then only you can improve. I see him creating a lot of records

2019 06 24 Retrieve

[Former Bayern Munich left-back Bixente Lizarazu has welcomed the record champions’ signing of fellow Frenchman Lucas Hernandez] I see a lot of left- and right-backs, who have problems in defence and are only good going forward. But Lucas Hernandez is good in defence and in attack. He is very strong, and has a lot of potential. Bayern have made a good choice. He plays how I used to back in the day.

2020 04 13 Retrieve

[Lizarazu insists Benzema wrong to attack Chelsea veteran Giroud who said ‘You don’t confuse F1 with go karting. And I’m being kind. Next… and I know I’m F1’] What he does in Madrid is extraordinary, and he can’t do it with the Blues. But Giroud is paying the price (for Benzema’s frustration), and he has nothing to do with it.

2020 05 29 Retrieve

[Lizarazu lauds Bayern Munich duo] Joshua Kimmich and Thiago Alcantara - they are currently the best midfield duo in the world and play at a very high level. Technically they are both perfect and they always want to have the ball. This is very important for the team because there is security. Kimmich and Thiago together are really fantastic, I don’t see a better duo in world football

If you play in the central midfield at Bayern, you can also be captain. Kimmich knows how to give the team the right balance. I am impressed with his level, because I actually thought that right-back was his best position. Now I have to say, in midfield he is even better than on the right. Yes, I think Kimmich would be suitable as a captain.