France international Franck Ribery has hailed himself as the successor to French legend Zinedine Zidane.
The Bayern Munich winger, who starred in France’s run to the 2006 World Cup final alongside Zidane, has enjoyed a good first year in Germany and now feels ready to lead Les Bleus’ charge at Euro 2008.
He told Le Parisien newspaper: “It’s true that I am his successor, due to my game, my positioning and my qualities.
“When Zizou was playing I was often with him. He always told me to keep going, that he was happy with me, and plenty of other nice comments which I still receive now.”
Ribery, who has been a member of the France national squad since May 2006, also said he is thriving in the national side thanks to a better relationship with coach Raymond Domenech.
“We speak more than before. I enjoy having a coach who’s close to the players,” he said.
“When I go to the French side I feel a lot better than before, both on the pitch and off it.
“I have more responsibilities. You could say I’m one of the leaders.”