The French national football team's victory at the 1998 World Cup in France was a momentous occasion for the country. The team, led by manager Aime Jacquet, had a squad of talented players who brought home their nation's first World Cup trophy. But where are those players now?
Let's start with the captain of the team, Didier Deschamps. After retiring from professional football in 2001, Deschamps managed several clubs, including AS Monaco, Juventus, Marseille, and the French national team. In 2018, he led the French team to another World Cup victory as the team's manager. In doing so, he became only the third person to win the prestigious tournament as a player and a coach.
Deschamps also guided France to 2021 Nations League champions. Most recently, the 54-year-old coached France back to the World Cup finals in 2022, only to lose on penalty kicks against Lionel Messi's Argentina.
Another key player from the 1998 team was Zinedine Zidane. After the World Cup, Zidane continued playing for the French national team until 2006. He retired from football after bowing out of the World Cup finals against Italy.
He then coached Real Madrid, where he won three consecutive Champions League titles before resigning in 2018. Zidane is currently probing about his next coaching opportunity, with a return to Real Madrid in the cards.
Petit scored the third and final goal in World Cup 1998 against Brazil and then went on to play for several clubs, including Arsenal and Barcelona. Since then, he has become a prominent football pundit and analyst, working with various French and British media outlets. Petit also engages in charitable work, including his ongoing ambassador role for Homeless World Cup, which initially took place in France in 2011.
Lilian Thuram, once the most capped player in the history of the French national team, retired from professional football in 2008.
Post-retirement, Thuram has been an active voice against racism and discrimination, setting up the Lilian Thuram Foundation to promote education on these issues. He has also authored several books and regularly contributed to various media outlets, discussing social and political topics.
Marcel Desailly played as a center-back for the French team and went on to play for Chelsea after four seasons at AC Milan. He was a rock at the back — he also won the 2000 Euros — and is a rock in life. After retiring, he worked as a pundit and founded a charity organization to help underprivileged children in Ghana, his birth country.
He also serves as the UNICEF national Goodwill Ambassador for Ghana.
Another key player from the team was Fabien Barthez, the team's goalkeeper. After the World Cup, Barthez continued to play for several clubs, including Manchester United and Marseille. He retired from football in 2007 and is now a motorsports enthusiast. He even competed in several car racing events including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Bixente Lizarazu was crucial to France's solid backline in the 1998 triumph. He hung up his boots in 2006 and worked as a commentator and analyst for French television and radio. Besides his media work, Lizarazu is an avid practitioner of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and even won the European Championship in the Blue Belt Senior 1 category in 2009.
Versatile forward Youri Djorkaeff also contributed to France's World Cup success in 1998. He retired in 2006 after spending one year with the New York Red Bulls in the MLS. Following his playing career, Djorkaeff established a football school in Armenia and founded the Youri Djorkaeff Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to offering football programs in New York City.
Christian Karembeu played an essential defensive role in the French midfield during the 1998 World Cup. The Frenchman also won two Champions League titles with Real Madrid. Karembeu retired from professional football in 2005 and held various positions within football administration, including his current role as sporting director for the Greek club Olympiacos.