Zidane comeback due to mystery apparition
Mysterious apparition told Zidane to resume France career
PARIS (AFP) - Real Madrid star Zinedine Zidane has admitted a mysterious apparition advised him to end his self-imposed international retirement to return and help France qualify for the 2006 World Cup.
Zidane returned to the France fray recently and was immediately named captain for the remaining qualifiers which the former world champions must win if they want to have any chance of going to Germany next year.
The French icon, who has had a huge influence in France's success over the years, said the "overpowering presence" left him with only one decision to make.
"I didn't want to make a big thing out of this, and for people to interpret what I say badly but what happened to me is really quite mysterious and unexplainable," Zidane said in Tuesday's edition of France Football magazine.
"You could even say it's irrational.
"One night about three o'clock in the morning I woke up suddenly and began speaking with someone. Afterwards I didn't tell anyone about it, not even my wife.
"It's a total enigma, but don't try to explain it - you can't. It's someone that you are likely to never meet. I can't even begin to explain. This person exists, but it's a total mystery."
He added: "A few hours later I was with my wife at home and that's when I decided.
"I've never had an experience like it. It was like I was powerless against this presence that was forcing me.
"It was like a revelation, and suddenly I realised I had to go back on my decision to retire."
Zidane said he wants to speak of his strange experience to put an end to speculation which suggest his return has been orchestrated purely for commercial or financial reasons.
It has been suggested that several sponsors as well as state television channel TF1 - who are transmitting the World Cup in France next year - have banded together to force Zidane's hand.
Zidane is sponsored by both the private television channel Canal Plus and telecommunications network Orange - and announced his decision to return on their websites following an initial announcement on his personal site.
He added: "Why am I telling you this? It's because I want to put an end to the unfounded rumours that are flying about.
"Do you really think that people who have an interest in my return could really make me - such as Adidas, Orange, Canal Plus, TF1 or even the president of France - come back?
"When I read that I couldn't believe it. It's only logical I announce it through Canal Plus and Orange because they spend a lot of money for my image so I don't see me announcing it anywhere else [...]