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Ex-Man Utd star links up with France Rugby World Cup squad as video goes viral

A former Manchester United goalkeeper has been trying his hand at rugby after linking up with the France national team during the Rugby World Cup. Fabien Barthez, who made 139 appearances for the Red Devils between 2000 and 2004, did not look out of place as he practiced conversions with the help of France kicking coach Vlok Cilliers.

Barthez was seen in a viral video clip smashing a kick through the posts alongside a number of France coaches before laughing with the staff shortly afterwards. He made it look easy as his effort sailed through the uprights, with his years of taking long goal kicks coming in handy.

However, Cilliers took full credit as he posted the clip of Barthez on X, formerly Twitter, alongside the caption: “Fabien Barthez, world-class goalkeeper for France and Manchester United was in camp. I help him with a few pointers and look at the outcome!”

Barthez won two Premier League titles during his time at United after being signed in 2000 to replace the recently departed Peter Schmeichel. The move came just two years after he played a starring role at the World Cup to help France win it for the very first time, conceding only two goals in seven games and winning the Yashin Award as the tournament’s best goalkeeper.

He went on to play for Marseille and Nantes before calling time on his professional career in 2007, after which he embarked on a number of exciting ventures.

The Frenchman went on to have a brief stint as a racing driver, taking part in a number of series including the Porsche Carrera Cup and the French GT Championship. He even raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2014, with Barthez and his team-mates finishing 29th overall and ninth in their class.

Motorsport has always been among Barthez’s passions, with the former United goalkeeper saying in 2013: “I have always been fascinated by motorsport, even when I was playing football. It always intrigued me. I wanted to understand what it felt like being in a car.”

Barthez also revealed that he spoke to French F1 driver Olivier Panis about the possibility of changing careers just weeks after winning the World Cup in 1998. He explained: “I spoke to Olivier during the summer. I asked him if I was a World Cup-winning footballer.

“It all happened so quickly. We had no time to really live in the present. I was asking myself: ‘What just happened?’. I’m from the generation who were told to profit from our careers, because they were [over] so quickly and when they’re over, they’re over. That’s my message to the young: profit, because it goes very quickly.”

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