Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane, also known as ‘Zizou’ is perhaps one of the greatest professional footballer to ever grace the game during the last decade. One of the very few players to have won every top national and club level honours, Zidane has been the footballing idol of many youngsters who’ve been following the game throughout his distinguished career.


Personal Background:

Zidane was originally born in Marseille after both his parents migrated from Algeria. He later joined the junior team of US Saint-Henri, a local club in Marseille and eventually got involved in the first-year junior selection for the league championship at the age of 14.

His gifted talent and skills in football soon caught the eye of AS Cannes scout Jean Varraud. From here on, his professional career took off…

Major Contributions:

Club Level:

At club level, Zidane made a slow start to his career. Arguably, some ctritics had doubts and underestimated his talents as to whether he would become one of the best in the world of football. In 1995, Jack Walker infamously rejected the proposal for signing Zidane by replying “Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?”.

During his career at club level, Zidane made some important contributions, most notably his match-winning first time volley goal against Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final. But other achievements at club level appeared to be moderate as he won two league titles in the Italian Serie A and a single league title in the Spanish La Liga with Real Madrid.

Achievements:
Juventus

    1. Serie A: 1996-97, 1997-98
    2. Supercoppa Italiana: 1997
    3. UEFA Super Cup: 1996
    4. Intercontinental Cup: 1996
    5. UEFA Intertoto Cup: 1999

      Zidane during his Juventus Days

Real Madrid

  1. La Liga: 2002-03
  2. Supercopa de España: 2001, 2003
  3. UEFA Champions League: 2001-02
  4. Intercontinental Cup: 2002

    Scores the winning goal in the Champions League Final vs Bayer Leverkusen

International Level:

In contrast, Zidane appeared to produce magical moments at international level which made him one of the best players of his generation in the world of football.

He almost single-handedly guided France to the 2006 World Cup Final alas they lost to the Italians in final. In the previous tournaments, Zidane has been instrumental for France by scoring two goals in the 1998 World Cup Final against Brazil and two goals in the quarters and semi final which would guide them to become only the second team to win both the World Cup and Euro Championship in 2000.

Achievements:

France

  1. FIFA World Cup: 1998
  2. UEFA European Football Championship: 2000

World Cup 1998 Winner

Personal:
Throughout Zidane’s career, notably at club level, it surprisingly appeared to be average until some time towards the peak of his career at Real Madrid where most football fans began to acknowledge his true qualityl. Needless to say, it is at the international stage that separated Zinedine Zidane from the rest. Moments in quarter finals of the world cup in 2006 where he tormented the Brazilians are memorable and magical. This earned him world recognition and which in my opinion easily ranks him among the Peles, Maradonas, Cruyffs and Beckenbaurs.

Achievements:

  1. Ballon D’or – 1998
  2. FIFA World Player of the Year – 1998, 2000, 2003
  3. Golden Ball – 2006

Yet another Player of the Year award

Conclusion:

Personally, out of all the great players except maybe Pele, Maradona and Cruyff, Zidane makes the football game looks incredibly simple. Zidane proves that there’s always time to make important passes and producing goods like the famous 360 roulette. Unfortunately there are times when we see the ugly side of Zidane, though I prefer not to mention it since we would like to focus on his wonderful talent in football, and not forgetting that he is a simple and private person outside football. A great example to follow. Please do enjoy the following clip we found on Youtube showing some amazing skills and moves from the great Zinedine Zidane.