France and Croatia World Cup Class of 98: Where are they now?

France and Croatia World Cup Class of 98: Where are they now?

As the second wave of the golden generation of France and Croatia gears up for Sunday’s final, we take a look at what the past masters are up to.

France won the World Cup for the first time in 1998, exactly 20 years back.

From contesting in their country’s presidential elections to selling mineral water — France and Croatia’s players, who started the epic semifinal of 1998 World Cup, have found intriguing alternate careers. As the second wave of golden generation gears up for Sunday’s final, we take a look at what the past masters are up to.


Coach — Aime Jacquet
The final was the last time the 76-year-old took charge of the French national team. He took on the role of technical director at the Federation Francaise de Football later before retiring in 2006.

Lilian Thuram (Activist)
He retired in 2008 after being diagnosed with a heart defect. Since then, he’s been keen political activist, taking part in a march through Paris in 2013 to support same-sex marriage. He also serves as an ambassador of UNICEF.

Laurent Blanc (Manager)

Laurent Blanc, PSG, PSG coach, Paris St Germain, PSG transfer news
Former France defender Laurent Blanc.

The towering defender went into management after retiring and then coached Paris Saint-Germain to three consecutive Ligue 1 titles. He’s now tipped to be the next Chelsea manager.

Fabien Barthez

Fabien Barthez has switched to motor sport. (Source: Facebook)

The Divine Bald One pulled curtains on his career in 2007. Since then, the eccentric goalkeeper switched to professional car racing and has competed in thrice at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Bixente Lizarazu
Lizarazu developed a fondness for jiu-jitsu and was crowned European champion in the Blue Belt Senior 1 Light Division in 2009. An avid surfer, he also works as a football expert.

Marcel Desailly (Unicef)
He now lives in Accra and became the first UNICEF goodwill ambassador for Ghana. Desailly has heavily been linked with becoming the next head coach of Ghana’s national team.

Didier Deschamps (Manager)

Didier Deschamps
France coach Didier Deschamps. (Source: Reuters)

Deschamps retired in 2001, aged 32, and immediately took to coaching. He lead Monaco to an unexpected runner-up finish at the 2003-04 Champions League, helped the relegated Juventus regain in 2006-07, and even coached France to the Euro 2016 final. Now he’s on the verge of becoming only the third person to win a World Cup as both player and manager.

Christian Karembeu (Admin)

Real Madrid are currently placed at 4th position in La Liga, 11 points behind Barcelona.
Former Real Madrid midfielder Christian Karembeu.

After retiring in 2006, Karembeu served as scout for Portsmouth, and was later appointed as non-executive director of investment company Birmingham International Holdings. In 2013, he was appointed the sports director of Olympiakos, a role he holds even today.

Emmanuel Petit (Media)
Since 2011, he’s been an ambassador for the Homeless World Cup movement, is a major shareholder of a digital sports media company, and also works as a match analyst on British television.

Zinedine Zidane (Manager)

Real Madrid’s head coach Zinedine Zidane.

The hero of the final, Zidane, too became a manager and led Real Madrid to three successive titles before unexpectedly resigning from his post in May.

Youri Djorkaeff (Charity)
The former striker retired from professional football in 2006 after a stint in the US, but decided to live in New York. The 50-year-old runs a non-profit organisation that provides football programmes in the city. For most of the year though, he works in France where he is a television analyst for French TV.

Stephane Guivarc’h (Swimming pool salesman)
Perhaps the least known player in the Class of 98, he was called in by French television to serve as an analyst for Euro 2016. Guivarc’h’s main occupation though is a swimming pool salesman in his hometown Concarneau.



Coach – Miroslav Blazevic
The 83-year-old dabbled with television and film. He also ran for the 2005 Presidential Elections as an independent candidate but received only 0.8 percent votes.

Drazen Ladic (Coach)
The 55-year-old had multiple coaching stints before he was appointed assistant to Zlatko Dalic, Croatia’s head coach at the World Cup, earlier this year.

Davor Suker – (President, Croatia football federation)

Davor Suker, The Golden Boot winner at France 98.

The Golden Boot winner at France 98, with six goals, Suker was voted Croatia’s greatest-ever player. He now serves as the president of his country’s football federation, a post he’s held since 2012.

Zvonimir Soldo (Bar owner)
He retired in 2006 and tried his hand at coaching, first at Dinamo Zagreb in 2008 and FC Koln a year later. Instead he’s found success in business after opening a bar in Zagreb.

Slaven Bilic (Manager)

West Ham united, Brighton and Hove Albion, Premier league, Ronald Koeman
Slaven Bilic’s three-year deal expires at the end of the season. (Source: Reuters)

Bilic’s managerial career came into the limelight after he led Croatia to qualification for Euro 2008. He also introduced the likes of Luka Modric and Vedran Corluka to the football world.

Igor Stimac (Manager)
After retiring in 2002, Stimac was hired by Hajduk Split as manager for the 2004-05 season. He helped the club win the league title that year, which till date has been his only major accolade as manager.

Dario Simic (Businessman)
The two-time Champions League winner retired in 2010 and is now a successful businessman. He runs a company that sells mineral water, coffee and fruit juice.

Mario Stanic (Player agent)
The midfielder scored a wonder goal on his debut for Chelsea in 2000, but was forced to retire four years later due to a knee injury. He now lives in Zagreb where he runs a player agency and writes a column for a local real estate portal.

Robert Jarni (Coach)
After retiring, he briefly played futsal for the national team. In 2007, he got his first managerial job at Hajduk Split. Currently, he’s the head coach of Croatia’s U-19 team.

Aljosa Asanovic (Manager)
He has followed the trend of Croats moving to Australia when he became the head coach of semi-professional team Melbourne Knights in 2017.

Zvonimir Boban (FIFA official)
The captain of the historic team is now the deputy secretary general of FIFA. Immediately after retiring in 2001, he had a brief career in sports journalism and also has business interests in restaurants and an ice cream parlours.


Goran Vlaovic (TV pundit)
The 45-year-old retired in 2004 after four years at Panathinaikos. He currently works in Croatia as a television analyst.