On this day in 2006: France’s former Man Utd goalkeeper Fabien Barthez retires

Former France and Manchester United goalkeeper Fabien Barthez announced his retirement from football, on this day in 2006.

The 1998 World Cup winner made his announcement on French television channel TF1, three months after appearing in the 2006 World Cup final.

Barthez, aged 35 at the time, said: “I am quitting the French team, I am quitting club football. I am going to continue enjoying myself without football.”

Fabien Barthez's last appearance as a footballer was in the 2006 World Cup final
Fabien Barthez’s last appearance for France was in the 2006 World Cup final defeat to Italy (Cathal McNaughton/PA)

He had been France’s first-choice keeper in the 2006 World Cup, with his last match being the penalty shoot-out loss to Italy in the final.

Barthez was with United for four years between 2000 and 2004, winning two Premier League titles in the process.

Shortly before he announced his retirement, Barthez had been trying to agree a deal with first club Toulouse, but it did not work out.

“The only club I wanted to go to was not so happy to have me,” he said. “It happens and you have to live with it. I needed an adventure and I have only done things that I want to.”

Barthez spent four years at Old Trafford until 2004
Barthez spent four years at Old Trafford until 2004 (Phil Noble/PA)

But the following April, after an altercation with a Nantes fan, Barthez left the club and, although he stated his intention to carry on playing, he did not make another appearance.

In 2008, Barthez switched sports and began a successful motorsport career. He won the 2013 French GT Championship alongside Morgan Moullin-Traffort and competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in 2014, 2016 and 2017.

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