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Interview with David Ginola

Aired June 11, 2010 - 16:49:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, HOST (voice-over): He's known as a maverick of football and is as famous for his good looks as he is for his right foot. But whatever David Ginola is approaching, he does it with style. The French football legend launched his career in his native country, but quickly moved to England, where he signed for Newcastle United.

From there, he moved to Tottenham Hotspurs, where he became an instant fan favorite. He's often been referred to as the assassin of French football, after an infamous flip-up in the 1994 World Cup qualifications that cost France their slot.

Off the field, Ginola has tried his hand at both modeling and acting and worked with the Red Cross to spearhead an anti-land mine campaign. As the World Cup kicks off, we get the inside scoop. David Ginola is your Connector of the Day.


ANDERSON: And ahead of tonight's game, which was 0-0 against Uruguay, of course, I saw down with David here in London.

And I started off by asking him how he thinks France is going to fare in the tournament.

This is what he said.


DAVID GINOLA, FORMER INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYER: Betting on the French team, I think they are eight or something like that in the ranking, that's not something I -- I really appreciate for my country, because they should be in the top three since 1998. Obviously, in 2000, when they won the World Cup and the Jubin Championship, have been a gap of, you know, struggling moments. 2002 in South Korea it was pretty bad. Obviously, they reached the final in 2006. The European Championship in 2008 was a -- a disaster.

So that's why, you know, there's a lot of talking about the manager -- is it good enough, has he got the right choice tactically?

So it's quite difficult to say, really.

ANDERSON: Martin has written to us. He says: "Do you feel that the French team even deserves to be at the World Cup given," as he describes it, "their cheating against Ireland -- "

GINOLA: I know -- I know -- I know what he means.

ANDERSON: Thereon Reid's (ph) hand of God, of course.

GINOLA: I -- I don't think it's really the matter. The matter of Gerry Henri (ph) ends and it's a con -- it's a concern about the referee. I don't want to be too protective for -- for the French, but I felt very, very bad for the -- for the Irish, because with these two -- these two games, they really deserved to -- to go through, because instead of France in Paris, the game was really in the -- in their favor. And they play great football.

ANDERSON: It would have been an exhilarating moment, even if it were helped by a hand ball for the French score to get through.

What was the most exhilarating moment in your career?

GINOLA: Well, it's obviously and probably when I was voted player of the year in 1999, because when I arrived in England in 1995, most of the people in France were considering that the English football wasn't really a ball for me. So it was quite, you know, giving an answer to them, saying, well, any football is suitable for me.

ANDERSON: You left France, of course, because of a moment in 1994 when you were playing for the national sport.

How do you feel about the title "assassin of French football?"

And that's a question from Agilli today.

GINOLA: It was a difficult time for me. But when I think about it, seeing a manager or hearing a manager saying that because of the problem was a player, I always thought that the manager should, you know, defend his players and take the responsibility of a defeat or the elimination.

ANDERSON: What makes the beautiful game the beautiful game, David?

GINOLA: I think it's probably because that football is the most practice football game in -- in the world. You -- you can play with your friends in the street. It's an easy game.

ANDERSON: Let's talk about who you think is going to win. Be a pundit for us...


ANDERSON: -- a politician. Come on.

GINOLA: -- Becky. I hate doing that because -- because as -- as a professional football player, when you're doing -- you're saying something like that, we have so many teams, you get exposed. Because...

ANDERSON: Just because you're not going to say France.

GINOLA: But just -- I mean if you say...


GINOLA: -- no, no, no, no, no. No. If you say something right...


GINOLA: -- if you say, for example, England -- and -- and I wish England will go as far as they could, you know, even in a tourn -- in the last four. But they will not get out of the group. They will say, well, David, you know, he was a good player, but as a pundit and (INAUDIBLE) I mean he's pretty bad.

So I will...

ANDERSON: Yes, but I'm not going to let you off.

GINOLA: I will guess...

ANDERSON: Get off the fence.

GINOLA: -- three...

ANDERSON: Come on.

GINOLA: -- three or four teams...

ANDERSON: Right. Go on.

GINOLA: -- who could be really interesting to focus on. England, obviously, because they are not favorites, but they're still able to -- to provide and, you know, do the piso (ph). I'm pretty sure about that. But we have to wait and see, obviously, tomorrow for the first game.

Spain, because they are FIFA top ranking anyways, so they are the best team in the world at the moment. Maybe a surprise. There will be interesting to see a surprise, an African team on their home soil. It would be such a great image to see, for example, Nigeria or Ghana or Cameron or even Ivory Coast. You need a level one.


GINOLA: OK. And Brazil or Italy because...


GINOLA: -- they're always in the last top.

ANDERSON: You are going to be vilified at home.


ANDERSON: Because you left out France. You really don't -- you don't buy them...

GINOLA: No, because -- because I don't think...


GINOLA: -- at the moment, that's why -- I mean -- I mean I saw them playing against China, against Costa Rica, the last few games against Tunisia, the last three games they played -- prednie (ph) games before this competition. And they didn't play well. They didn't play as a team. And when you reach this competition, you need to be all together.


ANDERSON: David Ginola.