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Zinedine Yazid Zidane “Zizou”

soccer-legend-zinedine-zidane
soccer-legend-zinedine-zidane

Zidane was one of the most popular French footballers and best known for his technical skills. Despite his slightly bulky physique, Zidane was incredibly agile.

Zizou was born in La Castellane on June 23, 1972, after his family moved to France from Algeria.

Just at the age of 5, he met football, playing with his friends in the neighborhood.

Club Career

Zidane joined a local club called US Saint-Henri as a junior when he was 10.

He then moved to Septèmes and played at the club until 1986. At a training camp, Zidane came to attention of AS Cannes scout. After joining the training at Cannes, Zizou’s youth career started in 1986.

Zizou managed to perform well during the 4 years he spent at the youth side. But his coach also noticed his aggression which came out when people made fun of his origins. It was at the youth squad where he learned how to channel his anger and focus on the game.

Zidane then decided to stay at Cannes for his senior career and made his debut on May 18, 1989. 

He was drawing attention especially with his technique on the pitch. Zidane helped the club finish 4th in the league in his 1st full season, hence; qualify for the UEFA Cup.

Zizou then signed with Girondins de Bordeaux in 1992. He won the 1995 Intertoto Cup and finished runners-up to Bayern Munich in 1995-96 UEFA Cup.

He scored a total of 28 goals in the league matches, during his 4-year tenure at Bordeaux.

After earning the Ligue 1 Player of the Year award in 1996, Zizou signed with the Italian club Juventus.

His 1st season at Juventus was quite successful. Zizou helped the club win 1996-97 Serie-A, and 1996 Intercontinental Cup.

He also got named the Serie-A Foreign Footballer of the Year in his 1st season. 

They reached the final of the 1996-97 UEFA Champions League but lost to Dortmund.

Despite the Champions League defeat, Juventus managed to keep their Scudetto, winning the 1997-98 Serie-A as Zidane scored 7 goals.

Juventus also reached the final of that season’s Champions League; however, they got defeated by Real Madrid. 

Zizou got the Serie-A Foreign Footballer of the Year in 2001 as they ended the 2000-01 Serie-A in 2nd place.

Zidane moved to Real Madrid in 2001 for 150 billion Italian lire, which was a world record fee.

The Famous Goal

During the 2002 UEFA Champions League final, he scored the winning goal against Leverkusen, striking a perfect volley. That goal was considered one of the best goals in the history of Champions League.

He helped Real Madrid win 2002-03 La Liga, thus, qualify for 2003-04 UEFA Champions League Group stage. 

Zizou then got named the best European footballer of the past 50 years in Golden Jubilee Poll in 2004.

Zidane ended the 2005-06 season as the 2nd top scorer with 9 goals and 2nd assist provider with 10 assists. He also scored his 1st hat-trick in that season, in a 4-2 victory over Sevilla.

International Career

Zidane played for the France U17 and U18 squads from 1988 to 1990. 

France U21 “Les Espoirs”

After having a few appearances in both squads, he joined the France U21 squad. Zidane participated in 1993 Mediterranean Games, where they won a bronze medal.

France National Team

His 1st appearance for France national team came in a game against Czech Republic on August 17, 1994. Although he played as a substitute, Zizou managed to score 2 goals and changed the score to 2-2.

He then became the playmaker, after Eric Cantona got a one-year long ban in January 1995.

During Euro 96 quarter finals, Zidane scored a penalty against the Netherlands; and another one in the semi-finals.

However, France got knocked out by Czech Republic in the semi-finals since Pedros missed his kick and the match ended 6-5.

World Cup 1998

Zidane joined his 1st World Cup competition of his career in 1998.

During the group stage, he received a red card in the Saudi Arabia match. Thus, the playmaker couldn’t participate in the round of 16, as France beat Paraguay 1-0.

France faced Brazil in the final, in which Zizou started glowing, as he scored a brace against the defending champions. France lifted the World Cup trophy with a 3-0 victory, and Zidane became the Man of the Match.

Awards for the World Cup Success

Zinedine’s great success brought him many awards, such as the FIFA World Player of the Year, Ballon d’Or and FIFA 11. He also received the Legion of Honour in that year.

After 2 years, Zidane joined the Euro 2000 and led France to the victory, being the best player of the competition. France, after the victory, became the 1st team to be crowned both European Championship and World Cup champions. 

World Cup 2002 Defeat

France got eliminated from World Cup in the group stage since Zidane had an injury before the tournament. Even though he tried to help his team, joining their 3rd match; the competition ended for France with zero goals.

Their performance was considered the worst, which was shown by a defending champion in the World Cup history.

Two years after the World Cup defeat, Zidane represented France in Euro 2004. He scored 2 goals against England and helped the team top their group. However, France got knocked out of the tournament by Greece in the quarter finals, with an unexpected 1-0 score.

Zidane then proclaimed his retirement from his international career after the competition.

Since most of the key players have quit, France had difficulties to qualify for World Cup 2006. After the coach called him up for the tournament, Zizou accepted joining the squad, and became the captain.

The 100th Cap for France

Zidane’s 100th cap for the national team came on May 27, 2006 in a friendly match against Mexico. The match made him the 4th player that has reached 100 caps for France.

World Cup 2006

Zidane scored a goal in the 3-1 victory over Spain during the round of 16. He then scored the only goal in their semi-final match against Portugal and led France to the final. 

The final match ended in a 1-1 draw, as Zidane scored the opening goal against Italy. During the extra time, Zidane received a red card for head-butting an Italian player. Since he couldn’t participate in the penalties, the game ended 5-3 in Italy’s favor.

Although he got the 14th expulsion of his career during the tournament, Zidane won the Golden Ball as the best player. 

The World Cup 2006 final was obviously the last game of Zidane’s career at the national team. He completely ended his international career after the tournament, having a total of 108 caps for France.

#France,#midfielder,#Cannes,#Bordeaux,#Juventus,#Real-Madrid,#1995-Intertoto-Cup,#1995-96-UEFA-Cup,#1996-97-Serie-A,#1996-Intercontinental-Cup,#1996-97-UEFA-Champions-League,#1997-98-Serie-A,#2002-UEFA-Champions-League,#2002-03-La-Liga,#1993-Mediterranean-Games,#Euro-96,#World-Cup-1998,#Euro-2000,#World-Cup-2002,#Euro-2004,#World-Cup-2006

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Uwe Seeler