Paris 2024 hopes the spirit of 1998 will help its bid for the Olympics.
After announcing soccer legend Zinedine Zidane as a bid ambassador, Paris 2024 published a video with Zidane and longtime teammate Laurent Blanc discussing France’s 1998 World Cup win at home. Zidane’s Real Madrid stars, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, also make appearances.
The video included images of mass celebrations in Paris from July 1998, including on the famed Champs-Élysées.
“To be around 1.5 million people taking the streets, I will never forget that,” Zidane said. “It gives me goosebumps every time I talk about it.”
Zidane scored the first two goals in France’s 3-0 win over Brazil in the 1998 World Cup final. That match was held at the then-new Stade de France in Saint-Denis, just north of Paris.
The Paris 2024 bid lists Stade de France as its Olympic Stadium, which would host Opening and Closing Ceremonies and track and field.
That’s the same plan as Paris had for 2008 and 2012, when it lost to Beijing and London, respectively, when Zidane was also a Paris Olympic bid ambassador.
“I was involved in several bids, but this one stands out,” Zidane said in this week’s video.
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Real Madrid playmaker James Rodríguez will not be part of Colombia’s Olympic soccer team, according to Spanish media quoting the president of the Colombia soccer federation.
Rodríguez, the leading scorer with six goals at the 2014 World Cup, is expected to play June’s Copa América Centenario, which his club team must release him for if Colombia so chooses.
Real Madrid does not have to release Rodríguez for the Olympics.
The situation is similar to that of Brazilian star Neymar, who is playing the Olympics but not Copa América Centenario after consultation with his club team, FC Barcelona.
Colombia’s men’s soccer team qualified for the Olympics for the first time since 1992 by winning a home-and-home playoff against the U.S.
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Cristiano Ronaldo may be the world’s best soccer player, but one award he has never won is Portugal’s Male Athlete of the Year.
Cyclist Rui Costa won the award for a third straight year Wednesday. Costa, a 2012 Olympian and the 2013 World Road Race champion, won the Tour de Suisse for a third straight year in 2014. He’s the fourth-ranked cyclist in the world for the year.
Ronaldo, a 2004 Olympian, was among five finalists for Portugal’s Sportsman of the Year in 2011, 2012 and 2013. This year, with Portugal eliminated in the World Cup group stage, no Portuguese soccer player made the nominee list of 32 men, let alone the five finalists.
A soccer player has never won Portugal’s Male Athlete of the Year, which has been given by the Portugal Sports Confederation since 2005.
The award is determined by voting from fans and personalities at the confederation’s awards gala.
Austrian soccer player wins Sportsman of the Year over Olympic, World champion skiers