Karembeu took part in the several festivities surrounding the trophy’s arrival, which included separate meetings with the president, the prime minister and a special gala dinner.

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Karembeu got to experience Bangladesh’s love for football firsthand and was pleasantly surprised when he heard about the fanfare surrounding FIFA World Cups in Bangladesh.

“I had the opportunity to meet with the honourble president and the honourable prime minister. Both of them told me about the football craze in Bangladesh,” Karembeu told Prothom Alo on Thursday.

“During World Cups, everyone here has their own country they support. Sometimes there are fights about it. That’s not good. Football is a medium to spread the message of peace,” he added.

Karembeu also admitted that he didn’t know much about Bangladesh other than its readymade garments sector and its population.

“I just knew about the garments industry. And about the population. There are over 170 million people in Bangladesh right? Wow! There are many countries like Greece where the population is like 10 million. That means almost 20 times more people live in Bangladesh. Incredible!”

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Karembeu was part of France’s golden generation that won the World Cup in 1998, the Euro in 2000 and the Confederations Cup in 2001.

The star of that French team was Zinadine Zidane, who had come to Bangladesh in 2006, soon after his infamous head-butt in the World Cup final which ended his international career with a red card.

Karembeu had no idea about his former teammate’s trip to Bangladesh, “What? In 2006? Was it before or after the World Cup?”

Karembeu than described what it was like to have someone like Zidane as his team-mate.

“I would say he was a magical talent. He would do whatever he wanted with the ball… Zizu (Zidane’s nickname) was incredible.”

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The biggest festival of football is set to take place in Qatar in November this year. France are the defending champions after winning the trophy for the second time in 2018.

Although France got knocked out of Euro 2021 in the second round and are currently languishing at the bottom of their UEFA Nations League group, Karembeu sees the French team reaching the final.

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He strongly believes that France will be accompanied by Argentina in the World Cup final.

“I’ve said it before, the final will be between Argentina and France. It will be Messi v Mbappe.”

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