A UNICEF spokeswoman on Thursday retracted a statement that retired international soccer star Zinedine Zidane will visit Gaza in March as a goodwill ambassador.

The report originally appeared on the Israeli news Web site Ynet. Asked about it by telephone from Jerusalem to her office in Geneva, UNICEF spokeswoman Veronique Taveau said the report was true, and promised to send a news release.

Later Taveau sent an e-mail message saying that she had been "misunderstood," and that Zidane would not be coming. She wrote that Zidane represents another U.N. body, UNDP, the United Nations Development Program, not UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund.

UNDP officials also denied the report of the Zidane visit through e-mail messages.

Zidane, 37, retired in 2006.