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Jan 22, 2013

Platini warns Zidane off France job

Michel Platini has warned Zinedine Zidane against starting his coaching career with the French national side, and suggested Samir Nasri should now return to the international fold.

The UEFA president, 57, replaced the sacked Henri Michel as France boss in November 1988 less than six months after hanging up his boots before missing out on qualification for the 1990 World Cup and then limping out of Euro 92 at the group stage. Zidane recently admitted he would like to follow Platini's example in swapping the pitch for the dug-out, sparking a frenzy of suggestions he could eventually replace ex-international team-mate Didier Deschamps at the head of the national team.

Speaking to 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 winner Bixente Lizarazu on RTL, Platini said his own experience suggested Zidane should start on a lower rung of the managerial ladder.

"It's not easy, and perhaps it's not a good thing for Zinedine to put him in charge of the French team straightaway. They didn't do me any favours in doing that. National team coach is more the climax of a career than the start," the three-time former European Footballer of the Year said, though he did back Zidane's new career direction.

"I think he's a little sick of doing adverts. He wants to commit himself, to give back to football what he has taken. It's up to him to know where he wants to go, I don't know what his ambition is, but he wants to do something. I think it's good to not just live with the image of an icon and to throw yourself into something, to put yourself on the line, I think it's great."

Platini also had kind words for Manchester City midfielder Nasri, 25, who has been left out of the international set-up following a violent verbal altercation with a journalist following France's elimination from Euro 2012. "It's not because you lose your head with a journalist that you can no longer play with the French national side," he said.

Quizzed on a number of matters, Platini also said financial fair play was inevitable given he finds European football "ill" economically, and outlined match-fixing as the biggest danger for football authorities to deal with. "If tomorrow we're going to watch a game of which we already know the result, football will be dead," he stated.

The UEFA chief also insisted football does not have a problem with organised doping, and reiterated his stance against the use of video technology to help referees get borderline decisions right, not only on principle, but also because "sooner or later, you have to pay for it".

"There are countries in Africa where internationals swap boots when they're substituted because they don't have enough boots, and we're going to put 35 cameras to show a game?" he asked. "€50 million over five years, I prefer to invest that in pitches in countries which need them. Philosophically I'm already against it, but it costs a fortune. We have the most beautiful sport in the world, built over 150 years, and I don't see what video technology can add."

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