Gourcuff revives Zidane comparisons

BORDEAUX - Yoann Gourcuff reminded everyone why he had been compared to the great Zinedine Zidane by helping Girondins Bordeaux reach the Champions League quarter-finals with a superb whipped free-kick.

The France playmaker, who had already set up defender Michael Ciani for his side's 1-0 win at Olympiakos Piraeus in the first leg, was again decisive on Wednesday.

His fine fifth-minute free kick gave Bordeaux a dream start in their 2-1 win against the Greek side in the return leg as he put a mediocre spell behind him in style.

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Gourcuff, who decided to stay at Bordeaux last season after being loaned to the French club by AC Milan, had been a pale shadow of his brilliant self until the Olympiakos game.

He was even booed by the Stade de France crowd earlier this month when France lost 2-0 to European champions Spain.

Gourcuff, the son of Lorient coach Christian Gourcuff, still has bad memories from the game.

Asked who he would like to face in the Champions League quarter-finals, he told French TV channel Canal Plus: "Any team but Barcelona. I played Spain a few days ago and I suffered a lot. I hardly touched the ball."

That was not the case on Wednesday, as Gourcuff played a pivotal role in Bordeaux's free flowing display in the first half with his delicate turns.

"When he manages to be in charge of the game, it feels good for everyone in the team," said Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh, who netted the French team's second goal against Olympiakos.

"Everything he tried tonight was a success."

Former France playmaker Zidane, a consultant on Canal Plus, added: "It is good for any team to have a player with such talent."

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