Bixente Lizarazu

Intro French association football player
A.K.A. Bixente Jean-Michel Lizarazu
Is Athlete Football player Association football player Radio personality Sports commentator Skeleton racer
From France
Type Film, Television, Stage and Radio Journalism Sports
Gender male
Birth 9 December 1969, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France
Star sign Sagittarius
Stats
Height: 169 cm
Weight: 69 kg

Bixente Jean-Michel Lizarazu ([biˈʃente lis̻aˈɾas̻u]) (born 9 December 1969) is a French former professional footballer who played for Bordeaux and Bayern Munich, among other teams, as a left back. He also had 97 caps for the French national team. In a twelve-year international career from 1992 to 2004, Lizarazu played in three European championships and two World Cups for France, winning the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

Club career

Bordeaux

An enthusiast in several sports from a young age, Lizarazu began his professional career with Girondins de Bordeaux, joining the club's youth setup as a 15-year-old in 1984 and initially playing as a winger. After being told he would not make a career from football due to his frail physicality as a teenager, he impressed the staff with his determination and became a member of the senior squad in 1988 alongside forward Christophe Dugarry. He was retrained to play as a counter-attacking left back at the suggestion of coach Didier Couécou and soon replaced the veteran Gernot Rohr (later to be the club's manager) in the position. In 1990 Bordeaux finished runners-up in the French championship, but the following year they were administratively relegated amid financial problems. Lizarazu remained with the club and helped them immediately regain their top tier status in 1992. The club also signed Zinedine Zidane, who became another important element of the team, which went on to achieve two 4th- and a 7th-place finish over the next three seasons, Lizarazu contributing 101 appearances and 15 goals. In summer 1995, Bordeaux won the Intertoto Cup to qualify for the 1995–96 UEFA Cup. They would go all the way to the final under coach Rohr, beating Real Betis, A.C. Milan and Slavia Prague before losing to Bayern Munich 5–1 on aggregate. However their league form suffered, dropping to 16th. Following UEFA Euro 1996, in which Dugarry, Zidane and Lizarazu were part of the French squad which reached the semi-finals, the three moved abroad seeking a new challenge: Zidane joining Juventus, Dugarry going to Milan and Lizarazu staying local but changing nations by moving to Athletic Bilbao, based the same distance from his home in the French Basque Country as Bordeaux. He appeared 299 times for his formative club, scoring 28 goals.

Athletic Bilbao

Lizarazu spent just one season with the La Liga club after becoming the first Frenchman to play for Athletic, which has a policy of selecting only players of Basque birth or heritage. Suffering from a persistent groin injury, he was unable to displace the experienced Aitor Larrazábal at left back, received two red cards among the 16 league appearances he did make, and had disagreements with the head coach, compatriot Luis Fernández. In the 1997 close season, he transferred to Bayern Munich.

Bayern Munich

Before even playing a Bundesliga match, Lizarazu lifted a trophy with his new club, winning the inaugural edition of the preseason DFL-Ligapokal. It was the start of a highly successful spell in Bavaria, despite the interruption of some serious injuries, as he went on to win six Bundesliga championships (including three in a row between 1999 and 2001), as well as five DFB-Pokals, the Champions League in 2001 (scoring his penalty in the shootout), and the Intercontinental Cup. On winning the Intercontinental Cup in 2001, he became the first player to be a current European and World champion in both club and international football. Lizarazu said that he would leave Bayern in the summer of 2004 and eventually signed with Olympique Marseille. However, after only six months back in France, he returned to Bayern Munich in January 2005. During his second spell with Bayern, ending in 2006 when he gave way to the emerging Phillipp Lahm, Lizarazu wore the shirt number 69; clarifying that it was not a lewd gesture, he said this was because he was born in 1969, his height is 1.69 m and he weighed 69 kg. He made 268 appearances in all competitions for Bayern between 1997 and 2006, scoring eight goals. 183 of these games were in the German top-flight.

International career

Lizarazu was capped 97 times for France (for the first time on 14 November 1992 against Finland), scoring two goals, and helped them win the 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000, starting in the final of both tournaments. He retired from international football after France were surprisingly eliminated by eventual winners Greece at Euro 2004.

Personal life

After retirement, Lizarazu got involved in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He competed in a jiu-jitsu competition in Europe in 2009, where he became European champion in the Blue Belt Senior 1 Light Division. He is also a keen surfer and works as a football pundit for French television and radio. In 2013, Lizarazu was described as a "tramp" by his successor as France's left back, Patrice Evra, after he and other pundits criticised Evra for giving an impromptu team talk during half-time of a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Belarus. Beside his mother tongue Basque, Lizarazu is able to speak French, Spanish, German, and English.

Career statistics

Club

Club performance League National Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
France League Coupe de France Coupe de la Ligue Europe Total
1988–89 Girondins de Bordeaux Division 1 16 0 1 0 0 0 17 0
1989–90 38 2 4 0 42 2
1990–91 35 2 1 0 6 0 42 2
1991–92 Division 2 33 0 3 0 36 0
1992–93 Division 1 35 4 3 0 38 4
1993–94 32 9 3 0 6 0 41 9
1994–95 32 2 2 1 1 0 4 0 39 3
1995–96 23 3 0 0 0 0 17 5 40 8
Spain League Copa del Rey Europe Total
1996–97 Athletic Bilbao La Liga 16 0 2 0 18 0
Germany League DFB-Pokal Ligapokal Europe Total
1997–98 Bayern Munich Bundesliga 19 0 3 0 2 0 2 0 24 0
1998–99 19 2 5 1 0 0 9 0 33 3
1999–2000 22 1 1 0 0 0 10 0 33 1
2000–01 15 0 1 0 0 0 10 0 26 0
2001–02 25 1 1 0 0 0 14 0 40 1
2002–03 26 2 5 0 0 0 3 0 34 2
2003–04 26 1 1 0 0 0 8 0 35 1
France League Coupe de France Coupe de la Ligue Europe Total
2004–05 Olympique Marseille Ligue 1 14 0 0 0 1 0 15 0
Germany League DFB-Pokal Ligapokal Europe Total
2004–05 Bayern Munich Bundesliga 13 0 2 0 0 0 4 0 19 0
2005–06 18 0 2 0 1 0 6 0 26 0
Total France 258 22 17 1 2 0 33 5 310 28
Spain 16 0 2 0 18 0
Germany 183 7 21 1 3 0 66 0 273 8
Career total 457 29 40 2 5 0 99 5 601 36

International

France national team
Year Apps Goals
1992 1 0
1993 6 0
1994 5 0
1995 5 1
1996 9 0
1997 4 0
1998 13 1
1999 6 0
2000 12 0
2001 10 0
2002 7 0
2003 12 0
2004 7 0
Total 97 2

International goals

# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 15 November 1995 Stade Michel d'Ornano, Caen, France  Israel 2–0 2–0 UEFA Euro 1996 qualifying
2. 18 June 1998 Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France  Saudi Arabia 4–0 4–0 1998 FIFA World Cup

Honours

Bordeaux Division 2: 1991–92 UEFA Intertoto Cup: 1995 UEFA Cup runner-up: 1995–96 Bayern Munich Bundesliga (6): 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2004–05, 2005–06 DFB-Pokal (5): 1997–98, 1999–2000, 2002–03, 2004–05, 2005–06 DFB-Ligapokal: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 UEFA Champions League: 2000–01; runner-up 1998–99 Intercontinental Cup: 2001 France FIFA World Cup: 1998 UEFA European Championship: 2000 FIFA Confederations Cup: 2001, 2003 Individual ESM Team of the Year: 1998–99 UEFA Team of the Year: 2001 FIFA XI: 2002 Équipe type spéciale 20 ans des trophées UNFP: 2011 Orders Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur: 1998

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