Tuesday, 29th January, 2013

Former Manchester United and France goalkeeper Fabian Barthez has cricitised the level of his countrymen between the sticks, suggesting that apart from Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda he cannot see anyone else growing into a high-level shot-stopper.

Barthez won 87 caps for France between 1994 and 2006, helping the country to win the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

On the club scene, he tasted the very highest level when moving to Manchester United from Monaco in 2000, helping Sir Alex Ferguson’s men to two Premier League titles.

He hung up his gloves in 2007, back in France with Nantes, and has been a keen observer of his country’s goalkeepers ever since.


And what he has seen has not impressed him, with Barthez genuinely worried about the level of French goalkeeping.

Speaking to French sports daily L’Equipe, Barthez praised Lloris, suggesting the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper has "something more" than the rest, before adding that "in France, in general, the level of goalkeepers has fallen.

"What bothers me at the moment is the behaviour of the goalkeepers.

"After a save, we see some celebrate as if they had scored a goal. It is not their role!

"Concentration is the main thing and by making such gestures, you lose being in the zone. We need to be consistently asking questions."

Asked directly about whether any French shot-stoppers apart from Lloris and Mandanda could grow into a top level goalkeeper, Barthez was blunt: "For the moment, no", he said.

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