Zinedine Zidane Hints at Possible Return to French National Team

PARIS (Reuters) - Zinedine Zidane says he might consider returning for France in a bid to help the former world champions in their struggle to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Zidane ended his international career after Les Bleus were knocked out of Euro 2004 with a 1-0 quarter-final defeat against eventual champions Greece.

'I've already said the French team was the most beautiful thing that happened to me. It would be nice for me to come back but I do not want to talk about it' he told sports daily L'Equipe on Friday.

'The biggest risk (in the qualifying campaign) is the game in Dublin against Ireland. That is the only one I'm sure of it.

'You know it will not happen but come back and play in Dublin in front of a 50000 crowd win and then leave I would like it. Yes I would like it' he said.

The French Football Federation said it had contacted L'Equipe who assured the interview was genuine on a day when hoax stories and pratical jokes in the media are common place.

France top European qualifying zone Group four with 10 points from six games but can be leapfrogged by Switzerland and Ireland who both have one game in hand.

France visit Ireland on September 7.

Coach Raymond Domenech said he would welcome the return of the Real Madrid playmaker.

'The door is wide open' he said.

'Zizou is still one of the best players in the world and if he says he is eligible I will call him with great joy.'