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Sunday, 2 July, 2000, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
France legends Platini and Zidane beyond compare

Gerard Houllier is the man best placed to compare the golden talents of France's midfield masters Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane.

Houllier watched Platini as a player and was his right hand man when he graduated from French captain to coach after a glittering career.

And Houllier - France Technical Director when the won the World Cup in 1998 - was a guiding influence on the young Zidane.

Liverpool's manager insists, however, that different styles and difference eras mean it is impossible to make a serious comparison between the pair.

Houllier told BBC Sport Online: "France is just very fortunate to have had two such magnificent players. It is not right that comparisons should be made between the two.

Inspiration

"First of all, the styles of the two players are different, and the time in which Platini played, and the time in which Zidane is playing, are also completely different.

"You can make general comparisons, but you can never say who was better. This would not be suitable."



Zidane brings the light to France. His touch is sheer velvet

Gerard Houllier
Platini led France to the European Championship in their home country in 1984, while Zidane was the inspiration behind France's World Cup win two years ago.

"They have many similarities, but football has changed so much between the Platini era and the Zidane era that we should not compare, we should simply enjoy.


Zizu
Zinedine Zidane
"Platini was more of a goalscorer than Zinedine. He was more of a passer whereas Zinedine is a dribbler.

Distributor

"There are subtle differences, although both would rightly be regarded as wonderful play-makers.



Platini was a great team leader. A truly wonderful competitor

Gerard Houllier
"Michel was a magnificent distributor of the ball, while Zinedine is a passer and a dribbler. Zidane brings the light to the current French team.

"They were both world class players with so much imagination to give a team. Platini was a truly wonderful competitor who was successful everywhere he went.

"Platini was also a great team leader, a symbol for the rest of his team-mates,

"I feel Zidane is playing with better players now, but those who have watched him in Euro 2000 can see what a wonderful player he is. He has a touch on a ball that is sheer velvet.

"I have watched both players so much, and watched the changes in the game, and I would prefer to just watch and remember rather than make comparisons."

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See also:

29 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Lemerre salutes 'great' referee
28 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Zidane sends France through
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