Retired French soccer star Zinedine Zidane will make a rare appearance on the Formula One stage when he pays a visit to Magny-Cours on grand prix weekend next month.

The former national team captain, who bowed out of the game on a contentious note after being sent off in the 2006 World Cup final, will be the guest of honour at the French Grand Prix on 30 June, having been voted as the country's favourite sporting personality. He will experience the third free practice session and qualifying from the pit-lane, before taking in a few laps of the circuit as Michael Schumacher's passenger in a Ferrari road car.

"I'm very honoured to go to the Magny-Cours circuit on which the French Grand Prix will take place," Zidane said, "The hotly-contested 2007 world championship is very interesting for lovers of motorsport like myself, but I'll be there, above all, to support the ICM, the association whose aim is provide the necessary means to combat certain serious neurological diseases.

"I'm going to get into a alongside Michael Schumacher on this occasion, and I couldn't hope for a better track baptism for such a great cause. I hope with all my heart that the ICM will help research progress with the help of everybody."

Seven time world champion Schumacher will be in the Ni?vre in both his role as 'special assistant' to the Ferrari F1 team and as a founder member of the ICM Brain and Spinal Cord Institute.



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