Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane Image Credit: AFP

Paris: French football legend Zinedine Zidane will be the official starter for June's edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, race organisers announced Tuesday.

"Hailed as one of France's greatest sportsmen and one of the finest footballers in the history of the game, Zinedine Zidane has been named as the Official Starter of the 92nd 24 Hours of Le Mans," the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) said in a statement.

The 1998 World Cup winner joins a prestigious list of guests that have given the starting signal at the endurance race, including Rafael Nadal in 2018, Steve McQueen in 1971 and LeBron James last year.

"The 24 Hours of Le Mans is beyond compare. It is an iconic race for anyone who loves motorsport, for people all around the world," said Zidane.

"It is a source of immense pride for France. My mind is full of images of the race, the legendary drivers, the amazing stories... although these are images from TV or movie scenes!

"To actually be there will be a first for me and needless to say, I'm extremely honoured," added the 51-year-old former Real Madrid player and coach.

ACO president Pierre Fillon described Zidane as "an icon, a sportsman whose talent has inspired generations of fans", before adding: "We couldn't have hoped for a more prestigious Starter."

The latest edition of the 24-hour race will start on June 15 in the northwestern French town of Le Mans and bring together 62 cars.