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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr, 6, 2008

Zidane to play exhibition match in Australia?

MELBOURNE, April 6 (Reuters) - Former World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane will play in an exhibition match in Australia on June 1, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The France playmaker retired from soccer after being sent off for headbutting Marco Materazzi at the 2006 World Cup final in Berlin won by Italy on penalties.

'The idea came from my eight-year-old son Brooklyn,' match organiser Alain Barataud told the Herald's website on Sunday. 'He said, 'why don't we bring 'Zizou' to Sydney?'

'I chased Zidane for 18 months. He said 'yes' from the start but it took that long to find a date.'

The former Real Madrid and Juventus player will arrive in Sydney on May 31 after playing in a charity match in the French territory of New Caledonia, the paper added.

World governing body FIFA is holding a congress in Sydney on May 29-30 and Barataud said he hoped Zidane's presence would boost Australia's chances of hosting the 2018 World Cup.

'We're also going to show 'Zizou' around Sydney so he can see what it would be like to have the World Cup here,' Barataud said.

'I would love it if Zidane ended up supporting Australia's bid for 2018.'

The exhibition match would not contain any Socceroos as Australia play a 2010 World Cup qualifier against Iraq in Brisbane the same day.

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