ZAGREB, Oct 6 (AFP) - Former Croatia's captain Zvonimir Boban leaves professional football Monday in a spectacular farewell match here gathering top international players as a World Star XI faces Croatia's 1998 World Cup squad.
Croatians were eager to see one of the country's biggest football stars ever playing for the last time as all 40,000 tickets for Dinamo Zagreb stadium were sold out several days ahead of the spectacle set one day before Boban's 34th birthday.
Among those who will arrive at Boban's invitation are Rivaldo, Fernardo Redondo and Marco van Basten, while the arrival of Gabriel Batistuta remains uncertain.
They will be joined by Oliver Bierhoff, Jean-Pierre Papin, Lotthar Matthaus, Dejan Savicevic, Daniele Massaro, Roberto Donadoni, Sebastiano Rossi, Paolo Maldini, Andrei Shevchenko, Mauro Tassoti, George Weah, Mark Viduka, Frank Rijkaard and Alessandro Costacurta.
The spectacle is to begin with the match between veterans of two of Boban's clubs - Dinamo Zagreb and AC Milan.
The World Stars, led by former Milan coach Fabio Capello, will then enter the field facing Croatia's squad which took third place at the 1998 World Championship in France with Boban as captain.
The Croatian side, containing veterans such as Igor Stimac, Davor Suker, Alen Boksic and Boban will again be led by then coach Miroslav Blazevic.
"It is hard for me, of course, as the moment of farewell nears, but at the same time I am happy. I am pleased with all that I have done. I have seen a lot of things, made some wonderful friendships," Boban told AFP.
"Football has broadened my horizons. For a while I will take a rest from it but one thing is certain. Never, never shall I become a coach. My nerves are not up to it," he added.