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Zidane will retire after World Cup

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Zidane will call it a day after the World Cup finals in Germany.

PARIS, France -- France and Real Madrid midfielder Zinedine Zidane said Tuesday he will retire after the World Cup in Germany.

Zidane helped France win the 1998 World Cup on home soil and the 2000 European Championship. He was FIFA's World Player of the Year in 1998, 2000 and 2003.

"I am stopping for good and I am stopping everything," he told Canal Plus tv. "Most of all, I think it's my body. I told myself that I can't do another year."

Zidane, who had another year to run on his contract with Madrid, will turn 34 during the June 9-July 9 World Cup.

He led Madrid to the 2002 Champions League title with a superb winner against Bayer Leverkusen, but noted that the star-studded team has not won a trophy in the past two years.

"I don't want to start a third year knowing that I won't be able to do better than I've done in the past," Zidane said. "I'm getting to an age where it is getting harder and harder."

He said he wanted to focus on the World Cup -- his "last objective" -- and give Madrid time to find a replacement.

Nicknamed "Zizou," he retired from the French team after it lost to Greece in the quarterfinals of the 2004 European Championship.

But along with Claude Makelele and Lilian Thuram, Zidane returned to help France qualify for the 2006 World Cup.

Zidane, who has scored 26 goals in 92 games for France, also played for Juventus, Bordeaux and Cannes.

He became the world's most expensive footballer when Real signed him from Juve for $66 million in 2001, but injuries and inconsistency have dogged him over the last two seasons.

"It might seem a bit strange to announce it now, two weeks before the end of the championship but it's a decision I've been thinking about carefully and I had to take it before the World Cup," he said.

Zidane had been expected to announce his decision at a news conference called for Wednesday in Madrid.

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