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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 December 2006, 11:03 GMT
Barthez makes retirement U-turn
Fabien Barthez
Goalkeeper Barthez played 87 games for France
Former France and Manchester United goalkeeper Fabien Barthez has confirmed he will return to French football to play for Ligue 1 strugglers Nantes.

The 35-year-old, who left his last club Olympique Marseille in the summer, had announced his retirement in October.

"If Nantes had called me two months ago I would probably have said no. Some 15 clubs called me but I was not ready," he told French television channel TF1.

"Nantes are a great club and their president found the right words."

Barthez won the World Cup with France in 1998 and the European Championship in 2000 and was part of the French team that reached the 2006 World Cup final.

His acquisition could prove crucial for Nantes, who are languishing one place from the bottom of Ligue 1.

"It's an important challenge for Barthez and he is important for us," club president Rudi Roussillon told television station Canal Plus.

"Our team needs someone of his calibre."

As well as two spells with Marseille and his stint at United, Barthez also played for Toulouse and Monaco.

He made 87 international appearances for France.



SEE ALSO
Mourinho rules out Barthez move
19 Oct 06 |  Europe


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