Football Legend profile: Zinedine Zidane
Zidane is arguably the greatest player of all time, his talent was infinite and his status as a legend is something no one would hesitate upon. His skills went hand in hand with his fiery temperament, and when you play with as much passion as Zidane did, that fire tends to engulf you. He has not only scored countless goals but had also been the master mind for the numerous goals scored by his team mates.
Born is Marseille, France in 1972, Zinedine was the youngest amongst his five siblings. His parents were immigrants from Algeria at the time. Zidane has always called himself as much Algerian as French. Being immigrants to the country of France, life wasn’t always easy for him and he learnt to be strong and independent at a very early age.
Zidane started his playing career at ‘La Castellane’ in Marseille. By the age of fourteen he caught the eye of the ‘As Cannes’ scout who didn’t think twice about recruiting him. At the age of seventeen, he was granted his first full debut for the club. His first professional goal came on the 8th of February, for which the team president rewarded him by giving him a car. Zidane’s first season in ‘Cannes’ ended with a qualification with the team for the ‘UEFA cup’.
In the 1992-1993 season Zidane was transferred to French side ‘Bordeaux’ with whom he won the ‘Intertoto cup’ in 1995 and finished as runner up in the 1995-1996 ‘UEFA cup’. Blackburn were on the verge of signing the growing phenom during that period but team owner, Jack Walker went on to say why do we need Zidane when we have Time Sherwood.
In 1996 Zidane moved to Champions League winners ‘Juventus’ for around three million pounds. With ‘Juventus’ he won the ‘Scudetto’ in the 1996-1997 season and the Intercontinental Cup, but lost the final of the Champions League to ‘Borussia Dortmund’. During the next season for the club he netted seven goals in thirty two appearances and helped the team retain their league title.
It was only some time before Zidane caught the eye of the Spanish giants ‘Real Madrid’. But in order to get him they had to break the transfer record and give ‘Juventus’ a whopping forty five million pounds. However they certainly got their money’s worth with performances that would leave the world with their jaws dropped. Zidane helped them win the League in 2001-2002 coupled with the champion’s league the same year. His winning goal with his weaker left foot during that final has gone down as one of the greatest goals ever to be witnessed.
Unlike countless players before him Zidane carried his performances for clubs to the national squad. Zidane earned his first cap in 1994 in a friendly against the Czech Republic. From his first match he burst onto the international scene scoring two goals and helping the French earn a draw with the Czech’s. In the 1996 ‘Euro’ France reached the semi finals but lost on penalties.
During the 1998 World Cup which was being played on Zidane’s home soil of France, Zidane came into his own and gave match winning performances one after the other. His best performance arguably came in the final match against Brazil in which he scored twice. Soon after in the ‘Euro 2000’ France became the first team since 1974 to win the World Cup and Euro, back to back. Zidane scored in the quarters and semi’s and the French went on to beat Italy and take the title.
Zidane retired from international football in 2004. But when his country came knocking in 2006, he rose to the challenge came out of retirement and captained the French squad to the finals which took place against Italy. The game ended at one all during regulation time but Italy went on to win the match on penalties. The match was however bared with controversy as Zidane head butted Materatzzi and was shown a straight red, what Materazzi said to Zidane is still not clear, but was enough to enrage the legend and cause him to act the way he did.
That was the last match he every played but everyone has since chosen to remember him for his world class performances day in and day out and look past that one moment of madness. Zidane has been and always will be the representation of pure class on and off the pitch. It is safe to say there won’t be another like him for many years to come.
Zidane won the World soccer player of the year award in 1998 and the FIFA world player of the year in 1998, 2000 and 2003. He was runner up to being FIFA player of the year in 2006 and came in as third best in 1997 and 2002. While he also won the ‘Ballon d’ Or’ in 1998. He’s been in the ‘FIFA ALL STAR TEAM’ twice in 1998 and 2006 and in the ‘FIFPro World XI Team’ in 2005 and 2006 and has been under the Chevalier de Légion d' Honneur since 1998.
He has scored a total of 122 goals in 689 appearances for all clubs and 31 goals in 108 appearances for his national side.