Wednesday 17 May 2023, 07:00

David Trezeguet talks Argentinian passion

  • A World Cup winner with France, David Trezeguet has a strong bond with Argentina

  • He believes the U-20 World Cup in Argentina will be a tournament full of passion

  • “They live and breathe football in Argentina. It’s another part of the culture, a religion.”

“We’re living in uncertain times, marked by conflict and global crises. The world is divided. The power of football brings people together to cross borders, unite and celebrate together. Football Unites the World is a global movement to inspire, unite and develop through football.”

With just a few days to go before the FIFA U-20 World Cup Argentina 2023™ kicks off, David Trezeguet drew inspiration from the Football Unites the World campaign mission statement and spoke about the passion that awaits the stars of tomorrow in the country where he grew up and which remains close to his heart.

A FIFA World Cup™ winner in 1998 with Les Bleus, he also reflected on the Qatar 2022 final between La Albiceleste and France and the special meaning the match had for him.

“We all know Argentina is a country where they live and breathe football with a passion, but it’s also part of the culture there, a religion,” said the former France forward about the nation that is all set to host the U-20 World Cup.

“That fervour for the game is only going to grow with that World Cup win in Qatar and there’s going to be a lot of it around the U-20s now. The stadiums will be full, there’ll be passion and the fans will turn up in numbers, and it’s going to be huge for the players, with all the excitement that comes with getting to know a country where football is such a big thing.”

A FIFA Legend and an Argentina 2023 tournament ambassador, Trezegol said he will be keeping a very close eye on a competition that Argentina have won a record six times and France once. “I’ll be there. I want to check out the quality of the players and make the most of a country that is so proud to have won the last World Cup.”

La Albiceleste’s triumphant Qatar campaign felt special for the former striker, who was born in France to Argentinian parents and spent his childhood in Buenos Aires. “The final was very tough for me on a personal level,” he said. “I was in Qatar for the game and to see my two countries go head-to-head in a final, and a World Cup final at that, was tricky.”

Reflecting on the sheer quality of the match and the excitement of it all, he added: “On a sporting level, it was an absolutely crazy game, an amazing match. On a personal level, France is still the country that adopted me and adapted to me. At the same time, though, I was happy for Argentina too, a country that’s suffered a lot and which has an outstanding player in Lionel Messi. In general, though, we saw a final between two teams who showed a lot of ambition and a lot of desire.”

The ex-Juventus striker also saw signs of a power shift: “You had Lionel Messi on one side and Kylian Mbappe on the other, the present versus the future.” Predicting a bright outlook for the runners-up, he added: “Even though France lost, I still think they’re the most complete team around.”

FIFA Legend David Trezeguet of France holds the Football Unites The World hashtag

Admired in both countries for his exploits with Les Bleus and for successful spells at the end of his career with River Plate and Newell’s Old Boys, Trezeguet is well placed to talk about the powerful role football plays in society. “I’ve felt a special relationship with France throughout my life and especially in 1998, when we were all aware of the social issues affecting the country. Winning the World Cup united France on a social and cultural level and had everyone thinking the same thing. It was extraordinary.”

Emphasising the power that the game has to make the world a better place, as the FIFA Football Unites the World campaign pledges, he said: “As for my roots, I just feel that racism needs to be rooted out once and for all and that football, the love of football, brings people together on a social level. I’ve always believed that.”

Taking a final look back at Qatar 2022, which showed how people can come together as one, he added: “Qatar did something amazing. We saw that connection between supporters and it was a real celebration. We shouldn’t forget that football is a party.”