‘No gentlemen in football when the World Cup is at stake’ - Christian Karembeu

Christian Karembeu is a French footballer and the winner of a World Cup and European Championship medals. He spoke to Sophie Shevardnadze about the tournament in Russia and the changing face of football.

When it comes to competing for the World Cup, “there are no gentlemen,” Karembeu said. “We all want to win, to lift the trophy.” In 1998, the French national team won the tournament at home. “We hope that Russia can do so,” he said. “Becoming the world champion is just something unique, and it’s a great experience.”

The World Cup is not only about competition though. “In the end, people from Namibia and Polynesia can see the Red Square, the Luzhniki Stadium, they can see Dzyuba, they can see other countries playing in Russia,” Karembeu went on. “Not only sport, but they can see what’s happening in Russia.”

Karembeu also shared his thoughts on why the giants, such as Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Spain struggle against rising teams from Iran or Iceland. “You can see, there’s no small nation in football, they can really read and learn everything about the opponent, and there’s no gap anymore.”