David Trezeguet achieved the greatest achievement for any soccer player. The 44-year-old former striker experienced the best feeling of all: winning a World Cup. He did it with France in the 1998 World Cup, and he also stood out as one of the best strikers of the 2000s, as a top player for Juventus.
Trezegol also took part in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where France lost on penalties to Italy in the famous final where Zinedine Zidane was sent off for a headbutt to Marco Materazzi's chest.
Beloved in all the clubs he has played for, Trezeguet has always had his heart split between Argentina and France. In an exclusive interview with Bolavip, he gave his opinion about Qatar 2022, his experience in World Cups, Diego Armando Maradona, and much more.
Trezeguet on Argentina and France ahead of Qatar 2022
Bolavip: What do you think of the current level of the Argentina National Team?
David Trezeguet: Argentina is a favorite nation to win the World Cup. Confidence also plays a part. Having won the Copa America has made an extra contribution to an already decisive team. But at the same time, it's a team that has grown in self-esteem after winning the title. Beyond the individuals, and more than what it can represent in Argentina in general. (Lionel) Scaloni, together with his coaching staff, has found the right key for these players to be able to get the most out of them. And today Argentina is a serious candidate to win this next World Cup.
BV: Will you be supporting Argentina or France for the Qatar 2022 World Cup?
DT: It is obvious that France is the No. 1 candidate to win the next World Cup. It is a nation that has been working hard for a long time. Since 2016 where they lost a Euro to Portugal... then in 2018 they won the World Cup. They had a warning in the following Euro where they were eliminated by Switzerland. They found themselves again by winning the Nations League. They are solid, with ambition and at the individual level they are fundamental. They have had those ups and downs, but they know how to achieve that balance to be able to win this next World Cup. Argentina is part of the teams where the goal is to win the Cup as well. It has that emotional feeling for me, it's a reality. Growing up and living there for a long time, emotionally I would like Argentina to be the next world champion. There is another reality in soccer, we know that anything can happen, as it has happened. Even so, France is the most complete team in comparison to the other nations.
BV: Did you ever think about representing the Argentina National Team?
DT: I never had the chance at the professional level. When I was 16 years old, I had to decide whether to get a French or Argentine passport. I chose French for a simple reason: it was the only one that gave me the chance to come to European soccer. From then on I could not play in the Argentina National Team. Emotionally, I found myself at that stage playing in Italy, in Juventus, where I was playing against (Gabriel) Batistuta and (Hernán) Crespo, who were the starters of the National Team, and I wondered about it. Playing in a powerful team like Juventus, playing against Batistuta's Roma and Crespo's Lazio or Inter, I emotionally thought, having this level, if I could have been called occasionally to be part of Argentina's national team. This from an emotional point of view. France gave me the chance to win a World Cup and a European Cup, the two most important trophies for a European nation.
Trezeguet and his World Cup experiences
BV: What does the World Cup mean in your life?
DT: Well, the World Cup is the most important event that brings together, for different reasons, the most important nations and players of each country and each continent, right? It is the event in which, as a soccer player or as a simple dreamer, a player tries to achieve the dream of winning a World Cup, which I had the chance to live. It is true that this event also has its great part at a cultural level, at a social level, we have seen that in the World Cups the public is decisive with their presence, with their involvement, with their connection to their nation. And at the same time, it is a very clear objective for the players who not only want to represent their national teams but also win this event, which is the most important in the career of any soccer player. I believe that on a soccer level it is the most precious trophy, the most important trophy for a soccer player, who enjoys it both personally and as a group, and also on a national level.
BV: What are the good and bad things about a World Cup?
DT: I don't see much on a negative level. What I had to experience at the organizational level was always the best. The positive thing is that it brings together the best players in the world with the same objective. And the public is very focused on the desire to win.
BV: Which World Cup did you enjoy more: France 1998 or Germany 2006?
DT: Beyond the victory, the '98 World Cup was more important for different reasons. Personally, I played much more. In 2006 I had a role as a non-protagonist. In that sense, it was much more difficult. The '98 because it was played in France. Also because of my age. And it's true that the final against Brazil, that great Brazil, was something very special for us.
BV: How was the dressing room after losing the 2006 Final?
DT: Emotionally, upset, a negative feeling. Professionally, we knew that it is part of sports in general, a winner and a loser. It is part of history, and we have to know how to accept it. Things happened this way because destiny wanted it. Just as I enjoyed the '98 World Cup, I experienced it from another angle in 2006. I had to assimilate and accept it. That's where the great players and those who are different show their qualities. For some of my teammates there is the bitter taste of not winning the cup. But this is part of the game and of the history of all the players who can play in a final.
BV: How was Zidane after that Final?
DT: There was no bitter taste about what had happened with Zidane. The disappointment of the final result was what counted. In an interview he says he has a very big regret about what happened. It is true that they are all assumptions, that they will not have results, that if he stayed on the field we could have won or dominated. They are all imaginary unknowns that may or may not have been realized. He would have liked a different ending, beyond the victory or not. Things turned out this way and we have to accept them. That is the most important thing.
The support Trezeguet received from Diego Armando Maradona
BV: Will Maradona's absence be felt at the World Cup?
DT: Diego is still the image of soccer in general. He has been that spontaneous and unique representation of what soccer is. He is a very present memory today. He has given a lot to the sport and is a beloved character. His absence is felt, but at the same time I think Maradona was always very clear that soccer has to continue. Somehow, for the current players and for those of us who were there at one time, we know that Maradona is still present.
BV: How much did Maradona's support help you after the 2006 final?
DT: When I was a player, having Maradona's support or advice was something very special. You don't see only the soccer aspect, but also the emotional aspect of the character. That's why Maradona was very loved by the general public, because of his attitude. Those words were very important at a time when you feel sad, disappointed and hurt, and that encouragement helps you over time to know that he was the best in the world, even though he made mistakes from time to time. The best players in history are seen in the difficulty, and not in the moments when everything is going in the right direction. Thanks to his advice I was able to move forward, demonstrating my qualities and my personality.