In a surprising development, former Manchester United goalkeeper Fabien Barthez has been training with the French national rugby team.
Barthez has acquired something of a reputation as a multi-sport expert since he retired from football.
He played for the Red Devils from the 2000 to the 2004 – though his final season was spent on loan with French club, Olympique de Marseille. He had a reputation for being somewhat eccentric.
The Frenchman had a habit of getting involved in outfield play much more than was considered normal at the time, showing his versatility but also creating many heart-in-mouth moments for watching fans.
Even more unusual is what he’s been getting up to since his retirement in 2007.
Barthez has successfully tried his hand at motorsports, competing in a series of races including the French GT Championship, Bioracing Series, and Caterham Sigma Cup France, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
Incredibly, the goalkeeper-turned-racer became a multi-sport champion when he won the French GT Championship alongside Morgan Moullin-Traffort in 2013.
And now, in the latest twist to his sporting adventures, as The Sun reports, he’s joined up with the French national rugby team who are preparing for the upcoming Rugby World Cup.
The former United icon has been spotted going through some kicking routines with France kicking coach, Vlok Cilliers. Being a goalkeeper, Barthez would be no stranger to the art of the driven long ball.
And according to Cilliers, Barthez did not disappoint.
Posting on social media, Cilliers said:
“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!!!”
So will Barthez be appearing for a second French national team to add to his 87 caps?
At 52, there’s no serious suggestion that he could play high-level rugby, but Man United and France fans will be glad to see Barthez staying active and in good health.