Fabien Barthez

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Fabien Alain Barthez born 28 June 1971- ) is a French former footballer who won honours as a goalkeeper with Marseille, Manchester United and the French national team, with whom he won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000 and reached the final of the 2006 World Cup. He shares the record for the most World Cup finals clean sheets with Peter Shilton, with 10. In club football he won the Champions League as well as several Ligue 1 and Premier League titles.

In the 1998 World Cup which was hosted by his home country, Barthez conceded only two goals in seven games and won the Yashin Award as the best goalkeeper of the tournament. Barthez was also well known during the tournament for letting teammate and good friend Laurent Blanc kiss his shaved head before the start of every match, supposedly for good luck. Barthez was an integral part of his national team's inaugural triumph which also made it the first time in 20 years that a host had won the World Cup; the highlight being a 3–0 clean sheet against defending champions Brazil in the finals. During the game, Barthez made a spectacular save on Brazilian superstar Ronaldo, doing his trademark leap/step-over the attacking striker to grab the ball, which injured Ronaldo in the process. Barthez was afterwards one of the most popular national players in France, second to Zinedine Zidane.

Two years later, Barthez was again the starter as his country won Euro 2000. It was the first time in over twenty years that a national team held both the World Cup and Euro titles, a feat last accomplished by West Germany in 1974. After that triumph, France held the top position in the FIFA World Rankings system from 2001 to 2002.

He played on France's World Cup team again in 2002 in which they exited in the first round without winning a game or scoring a goal. He was also the starter in Euro 2004, saving David Beckham's penalty shot in the round robin, but France went out in the quarterfinals to eventual winners Greece.

His place as starting goalkeeper in France's 2006 FIFA World Cup Campaign, in the face of a substantial public campaign in support of Grégory Coupet, was surprising to many, even more so given Coupet's flawless performance in the remainder of the World Cup qualifying campaign after Barthez's suspension. The decision was met with derision in the French press and also led to Coupet's walking out of the national squad before the tournament, though he was to return one day later. The move was viewed by some as a desire to keep the veterans of France's 1998 World Cup victory on the team. L'Equipe reported after the World Cup that Barthez would have walked out of the squad had he not been named the starter.

France had a slow start in the group stage, drawing their first two games and putting their playoff chances at risk. Fortunately, Barthez's team found their form and won their final round robin match 2–0 to advance to the next stage, where they upset heavily favoured Spain 3–1 in the round of 16.

In defeating Brazil, 1–0 on 1 July 2006, Barthez, having made only one save in the game, became the first keeper to blank the Brazilian team in consecutive World Cup finals matches, the first being the 1998 final (3–0). France is now one of only four nations (along with Italy, Argentina and the Netherlands) to have shut Brazil out twice in the World Cup finals, and the first to have done it in consecutive matches, both times with Barthez in goal.

Barthez again kept a clean sheet in the semi-final against Portugal (with Zinédine Zidane's penalty shot the winning goal), though he appeared in questionable form. A few minutes from time, he spectacularly spilled a free-kick which Luís Figo recovered, heading over the bar although unchallenged. He did, however, redeem himself in injury time when a French defender fumbled the ball, enabling a Portuguese player to mount a last-moment attack. Barthez scrambled out of the net and blocked the first shot.

During the final against Italy he briefly captained his team for the remainder of the second period of extra time after Zidane was sent off. During the penalty shootout, neither he nor his Italian counterpart Gianluigi Buffon made a save, and France striker David Trezeguet's missed shot ultimately proved decisive.

He is a practicing Zen Buddhist.