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 honors, Zidane has been the footballing idol of many youngsters who’ve been following the game throughout his distinguished career.
Zinedine Zidane’s Personal Background
Originally born in Marseille after both his parents migrated from Algeria. Later, he joined the junior team of US Saint-Henri in Marseille and eventually made the first-year junior selection for the league championship at the age of 14.
Gifted with a tremendous skill he soon caught the eye of AS Cannes scout Jean Varraud. Everything else is history as Zinedine Zidane’s soccer career took off.
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.
- Serie A: 1996-97, 1997-98
- Supercoppa Italiana: 1997
- UEFA Super Cup: 1996
- Intercontinental Cup: 1996
- UEFA Intertoto Cup: 1999
- La Liga: 2002-03
- Supercopa de España: 2001, 2003
- UEFA Champions League: 2001-02
- Intercontinental Cup: 2002
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.
- FIFA World Cup: 1998
- UEFA European Football Championship: 2000
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 quality. Needless to say, it is at the international stage that separated Zinedine Zidane from the rest. Moments in quarterfinals 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.
Personal Achievements as a Player
- Ballon D’or – 1998
- FIFA World Player of the Year – 1998, 2000, 2003
- Golden Ball – 2006
Zinedine Zidane Soccer Legend
Personally, out of all the great players except maybe Pele, Maradona and Cruyff, Zidane makes soccer look incredibly simple. Zidane proves that there is always time to make important passes and produce 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.