Zinédine Zidane

From ArticleWorld


Zinedine Zidane is the French footballing wizard who currently represents his nation, France as well as forming part of the ‘Galtacticos’ at Spanish football giants Real Madrid. Zidane is a widely revered player, his skills have made him a globally recognised figure and for many is one of the greatest players to ever grace a football pitch.

Early Career

Zinedine Yazid Zidane was born on June 23rd 1972, in Marseille, France to a family of Algerian descent. Zidane began his career at the tender age of 16 at French club as Cannes. By 1992 the attacking midfielder had caught the attention of many French clubs, but was eventually signed by Bordeaux. During his stay at Bordeaux Zidane began to refine and hone his considerable talent and was soon being touted by some of Europe’s leading clubs. In 1996 Zidane joined Italian giants Juventus for what would turn out to be a wise investment. Playing for the Turin based club, Zidane instantly became a highly popular and admired player showing skills and trickery rarely seen on a football pitch. Zidane helped Juventus claim the 1996/97 Italian Serie A league championship, a feat they would repeat in the next year.

Success

1998 was the year in which Zidane progressed from merely being a great player to a true International superstar. Having already won the league championship with Juventus, Zidane approached the world cup in his home country as a potential world-beater. It was during this world cup th at he and his French colleagues came to the forefront of world football, with it’s solid defensive line, frighteningly quick attack and there skilful midfield headed by Zidane, France became a force to be reckoned with. Reaching the final they destroyed an uninspired Brazil 3 – 0 a match in which Zidane would take centre stage scoring two headed goals, winning France their first ever World Cup. In the same year Zidane also received his first of three World Player of the Year awards (the other two were received in 2000 and 2003) as well as the European Footballer of the Year also known as the Balon d’Or. Zidane would also lead the French team to a famous European Championship victory in 2000, with Zidane also picking up the World Player of the Year award in that year, Juventus were put under increasing pressure to sell him, with huge bids reigning in from all corners of European football. Eventually in 2001 Juventus accepted a bid from Spanish club Real Madrid worth a staggering $66 million, the highest transfer fee paid at that time and a record which remains up until the current day.

Latter Years

With Zidane in Madrid’s team of Galacticos including Roberto Carlos, Luis Figo and Raul success was inevitable. Sure enough in his first season at the club Zidane helped steer Madrid to European glory, winning the prestigious Champions League trophy. In the final staged at Hampden Park in Scotland, Zidane produced a spectacular volleyed goal against German club Bayer Leverkusen in a 2-1 victory. The goal was one of the greatest scored in a major final if not one of the greatest of all time. Madrid would go on to win the intercontinental cup of 2002 and the league championship in 2002/03. But recent seasons have seen a decline in the team’s fortunes with no major silverware in two seasons. Similarly France have also fallen foul of a change in fortune, a disastrous 2002 World Cup in which Zidane only played a single match was followed by a less than glorious European Championships in 2004, prompting Zidane to declare his retirement from international football. The retirement was short-lived, by August 2005 he was back in the International fold because of Frances floundering World cup qualification campaign. Zidane has recently announced that he will retire from football all together after the 2006 World Cup tournament.