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Goalkeeper Barthez quits football

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PARIS, France -- Former France goalkeeper Fabien Barthez has announced his retirement from club and international football, citing family problems.

"I quit the French team, I quit club football," Barthez, 35, told French TV channel TF1 on Thursday. "I will still have fun without football," he added.

Barthez has been without a club since leaving Marseille at the end of last season. After quitting Marseille he returned to his birthplace near Toulouse to be with his mother who is ill.

Barthez was France's first-choice goalkeeper from the 1998 World Cup, which Les Bleus won on home soil, to this year's tournament which France lost in the final on penalties to Italy.

He won the last of his 87 caps, which also included the European championship triumph in 2000, in the final in Berlin which went to a penalty shootout.

Barthez, an outgoing character instantly recognisable for his shining bald head, played his first match for France in 1994 in a 1-0 victory over Australia.

He won the Champions League in 1993 with Marseille before moving to Monaco in 1995. He then spent three years at Manchester United, where he won two Premier League titles (2001 and 2003) before returning to Marseille midway through the 2003/04 season.


Barthez has been one of the most recognisable faces in world football in recent years.

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