Overview of life
Zinedine Yazid Zidane (French pronunciation: [zinedin zidan], born 23 June 1972), nicknamed “Zizou”, is a retired French footballer and current manager of Real Madrid. He played as an attacking midfielder for the France national team, Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus and Real Madrid. An elite playmaker, renowned for his elegance, vision, ball control and technique, Zidane was named the best European footballer of the past 50 years in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.
At club level, Zidane won the La Liga title and the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid, two Serie A league championships with Juventus and an Intercontinental Cup and a UEFA Super Cup each with both aforementioned teams. His 2001 transfer from Juventus to Real Madrid set a world record fee of an equivalent €75 million. His left-foot volleyed winner in the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final is considered to be one of the greatest goals in the competition’s history. On the international stage with France, Zidane won the 1998 FIFA World Cup, scoring twice in the final, and UEFA Euro 2000 where he was named Player of the Tournament. The World Cup triumph made him a national hero in France, and he received the Légion d’honneur in 1998.
Zidane was named the FIFA World Player of the Year three times, in 1998, 2000 and 2003, and won the 1998 Ballon d’Or. He was Ligue 1 Player of the Year in 1996, Serie A Footballer of the Year in 2001 and La Liga Best Foreign Player in 2002. In 2004, he was named in the FIFA 100, a list of the world’s greatest living players compiled by Pelé. Zidane received the Golden Ball for player of the tournament at the 2006 World Cup, despite his infamous sending off in the final against Italy for headbutting Marco Materazzi in the chest. Prior to the World Cup, he announced he would retire at the end of the tournament.
After retirement, Zidane became assistant coach at Real Madrid under Carlo Ancelotti for the 2013–14 season. After a successful year in which the club won the UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey, Zidane became the coach of Real Madrid’s B team, Real Madrid Castilla. In 2010, Zidane was an ambassador for Qatar’s successful bid to stage the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the first Arab country to host the tournament. Zidane is currently the manager of Real Madrid, taking over the position in January 2016. In his first season as manager, Zidane won the UEFA Champions League title.
Zinedine Yazid Zidane (Arabic: زين الدين يزيد زيدان) was born on 23 June 1972 in La Castellane, Marseille, in Southern France. Zidane is of Algerian Kabyle descent. His parents, Smaïl and Malika, emigrated to Paris from the village of Aguemoune in the Berber-speaking region of Kabylie in northern Algeria in 1953 before the start of the Algerian War. The family, which had settled in the city’s tough northern districts of Barbès and Saint-Denis, found little work in the region, and in the mid-1960s moved to the northern Marseille suburb of La Castellane in the 16th arrondissement of Marseille. In 1972, Zidane was born there as the youngest of five siblings. His father worked as a warehouseman and nightwatchman at a department store, often on the night shift, while his mother was a housewife. The family lived a reasonably comfortable life by the standards of the neighbourhood, which was notorious throughout Marseille for its high crime and unemployment rates.
It was in Castellane where Zidane had his earliest introduction in football, joining in at the age of five in football games that the neighbourhood’s children played on the Place Tartane, an 80-by-12-yard plaza that served as the main square of the housing complex. In July 2011, Zidane named former Marseille players Blaž Slišković, Enzo Francescoli and Jean-Pierre Papin as his idols while growing up. At the age of ten, Zidane got his first player’s licence after joining the junior team of a local club from Castellane by the name of US Saint-Henri. After spending a year and a half at US Saint-Henri, Zidane joined SO Septèmes-les-Vallons when the Septèmes coach Robert Centenero convinced the club’s Director to get Zidane. Zidane stayed with Septèmes until the age of 14, at which time he was selected to attend a three-day training camp at the CREPS (Regional Centre for Sports and Physical Education) in Aix-en-Provence, one of several such footballing institutes run by the French Football Federation. It was here that Zidane was spotted by AS Cannes scout and former player Jean Varraud, who recommended him to the training centre director of the club.
“He’d go past one, two, three, five, six players – it was sublime. His feet spoke with the ball”
—Jean Varraud, former player who discovered Zidane.
Zidane went to AS Cannes for a six-week stay, but ended up remaining at the club for four years to play at the professional level. Having left his family to join Cannes, he was invited by Cannes Director Jean-Claude Elineau to leave the dormitory he shared with 20 other trainees and to come and stay with him and his family. Zidane later said that while living with the Elineaus he found equilibrium.
It was at Cannes where Zidane’s first coaches noticed that he was raw and sensitive, prone to attack spectators who insulted his race or family. His first coach, Jean Varraud, encouraged him to channel his anger and focus on his own game. Zidane spent his first weeks at Cannes mainly on cleaning duty as a punishment for punching an opponent who mocked his ghetto origins. The occasional violence that he would display throughout his career was shaped by an internal conflict of being an Algerian-Frenchman suspended between cultures, and surviving the tough streets of La Castellane where he grew up.
Zidane made his professional debut with Cannes on 18 May 1989 in a French Division 1 match against Nantes. He scored his first goal for the club on 10 February 1991also against Nantes in a 2–1 win. After the match during a party for all the Cannes players, Zidane was given a car by Cannes Chairman Alain Pedretti, who had promised him one the day he scored his first goal for the club. On the pitch, Zidane displayed extraordinary technique on the ball, offering glimpses of the talent that would take him to the top of the world game. In his first full season with Cannes, the club secured its first ever European football berth by qualifying for the UEFA Cup after finishing fourth in the league. This remains the club’s highest finish in the top flight since getting relegated for the first time from the first division in the 1948–49 season.
Zidane was transferred to Girondins de Bordeaux in the 1992–93 season, winning the 1995 Intertoto Cup after beating Karlsruhe, and finishing runner-up against Bayern Munich in the 1995–96 UEFA Cup, in four years with the club. He played a set of midfield combinations with Bixente Lizarazu and Christophe Dugarry, which would become the trademark of both Bordeaux and the 1998 French national team. In 1995, Blackburn Rovers manager Kenny Dalglish had expressed interest in signing both Zidane and Dugarry, to which team owner and chairman Jack Walker reportedly replied, “Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?” Also towards the beginning of the 1996 season, according to football agent Barry Silkman, Zidane was offered to Newcastle United for £1.2 million, but the club turned down the offer after watching him, claiming that he was not good enough for the English First Division. In 1996, Zidane received the award for Ligue 1 Player of the Year.
“He is a special player. He creates space where there is none. No matter where he gets the ball or how it comes to him, he can get out of trouble. His imagination and his technique are amazing”
—Juventus teammate Edgar Davids.
After a series of stand out performances for both Bordeaux and France, Zidane had offers to join Europe’s top clubs in the spring of 1996, deciding on a move to UEFA Champions League winners Juventus during the close season. Zidane’s impact in Italy was immediate, winning the 1996–97 Serie A title and the 1996 Intercontinental Cup. He lost in the 1997 UEFA Champions League Final 3–1 to Borussia Dortmund when he was unable to make an impression against the close marking of Paul Lambert. The following season, Zidane scored seven goals in 32 matches in the league to help Juventus win the 1997–98 Serie A and thus retain the Scudetto. In Europe, Juventus made their third consecutive UEFA Champions League Final appearance, but lost the game 1–0 to Real Madrid. In 1998, Zidane was named FIFA World Player of the Year, and won the Ballon d’Or. Juventus finished second in the 2000–01 Serie A, but were eliminated in the group stage of the Champions League, after Zidane was banned for head-butting Hamburger SV player Jochen Kientz. In 2001, Zidane was named Serie A Foreign Footballer of the Year for the second time.
Zidane with teammate David Beckham in 2003
In 2001, Zidane joined Real Madrid for a world record fee of 150 billion Italian lire, (about €77.5 million) and signed a four-year contract. The latest addition to the Galácticos era of global stars signed by Real Madrid every year, in his first season at the club Zidane scored a famous match-winning goal, a volley hit with his weaker foot, in Madrid’s 2–1 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final, completing his personal quadruple. The goal has been cited as one of the greatest in Champions League history.
“He dominates the ball, he is a walking spectacle and he plays as if he had silk gloves on each foot. He makes it worthwhile going to the stadium — he’s one of the best I have ever seen.”
—Alfredo Di Stéfano on Zidane after he was named World Player of the Year in 2003.
The next season, Zidane helped Real Madrid to win the 2002–03 La Liga, starring alongside Luís Figo in midfield, and was named the FIFA World Player of the Year for the third time. In 2004, fans voted him as the best European footballer of the previous 50 years in UEFA’s fiftieth-anniversary Golden Jubilee Poll.
While Zidane’s final season of club football ended without a trophy, he enjoyed success on a personal note by scoring his first hat-trick, against Sevilla, in a 4–2 win in January 2006. He ended the season for Real Madrid as their second highest goalscorer and assists provider behind teammates Ronaldo and David Beckham respectively, with nine goals and ten assists in 28 games. On 7 May 2006, Zidane, who had announced his plans to retire after the 2006 World Cup, played his farewell match and scored in a 3–3 draw with Villarreal. The squad wore commemorative shirts with ZIDANE 2001–2006 below the club logo. The 80,000 fans inside the Santiago Bernabéu held up a banner reading, “Thanks for the magic.”
In 2012, Zidane featured for Madrid in an All Stars Match against Manchester United which resulted in a 3–2 win for Real. In April 2013, he was named by Marca as a member of the “Best foreign eleven in Real Madrid’s history.”
Both France and Algeria consider Zidane a citizen, but he was ineligible to play for the Algerian national team. It was rumoured that coach Abdelhamid Kermali denied Zidane a position for the Algerian squad because he felt the young midfielder was not fast enough. However, Zidane dismissed the rumour in a 2005 interview, saying that he would have been ineligible to play for Algeria because he had already played for France.
He earned his first cap with France as a substitute in a friendly against the Czech Republic on 17 August 1994, which ended in a 2–2 draw after Zidane scored twice to help France erase a 2–0 deficit. After Eric Cantona was handed a year-long suspension in January 1995 for assaulting a fan, Zidane took over the playmaker position.
Despite not being at his best during the tournament, France reached the last four. Zidane was not yet fully established in the French team and his level was quite average during the whole event, but he managed to score in the penalty shootout in both the quarter-final and semi-final. France was eliminated in the Euro 96 semi-finals in a penalty shootout against the Czech Republic.
1998 World Cup
Zidane wore number 10 throughout his international career
The 1998 FIFA World Cup was the first World Cup that Zidane participated in. It was held in his home country France. The French team won all three games in the group stage but Zidane was sent off in the second match against Saudi Arabia for a stamp on Fuad Anwar, becoming the first French player to receive a red card in a World Cup Finals. Without their playmaker France proceeded to win 1–0 in the last sixteen game against Paraguay and, on his return to the side, defeated Italy 4–3 on penalties after a goalless draw in the quarter-finals. France then defeated Croatia 2–1 in the semi-final. Zidane played a major role in the team’s accomplishment, though he had yet to score a goal at the World Cup.
Zidane and France went on to play against defending champions and favourites Brazil at the Stade de France in the 1998 FIFA World Cup Final. France dominated Brazil from the kick-off, with Zidane scoring two similar goals, both headers from corner kicks taken by Emmanuel Petit and Youri Djorkaeff. Courtesy of Zidane’s two goals, France went into the half-time break 2-0 up with one hand already on the World Cup trophy. Petit added a third goal deep in stoppage time to seal the 3–0 win and France’s first ever World Cup. Zidane became an instant national hero, and over one million people celebrated the victory on the Champs-Élysées where a huge image of Zidane was projected on the Arc de Triomphe along with the words “Merci Zizou”.
Two years later France won Euro 2000, becoming the first team to hold both the World Cup and the European Championship since West Germany in 1974. Zidane finished with two goals, a memorable bending free kick against Spain in the quarter-final and the golden goal in the semi-final against Portugal, and was named Player of the Tournament by UEFA.
2002 World Cup
As reigning world and European champions, France entered the 2002 World Cup as favourites but a thigh injury prevented Zidane from playing in France’s first two matches and without their talisman, the French team failed to score in either match. He was rushed back prematurely for the third game despite not being fully fit, but could not prevent France from being ignominiously eliminated in the group stage without scoring a single goal; the worst performance by a defending champion in the history of the competition.
Euro 2004 At Euro 2004, France topped their group with wins over England and Switzerland, before being knocked out in the quarter finals by eventual champions Greece in a surprise 1–0 loss. In the opening match against England, Zidane scored a free kick and penalty in stoppage time to turn defeat into a 2–1 victory for France. After France’s elimination Zidane announced his retirement from international football.
2006 World Cup
Zidane during the 2006 World Cup Final
With the mass retirement of veteran key players such as Bixente Lizarazu, Marcel Desailly, Claude Makélélé and Lilian Thuram, France struggled to qualify for the 2006 World Cup. At the urging of coach Raymond Domenech, Zidane came out of retirement and was immediately reinstated as team captain. Zidane, along with Thuram and Makelele, made his competitive return for France in a 3–0 win over the Faroe Islands on 3 September 2005. The trio helped France rise from fourth place to win their qualifying group. On 27 May 2006, Zidane earned his hundredth cap for France in a 1–0 friendly win over Mexico, in what would also be his last match at the Stade de France. Zidane became France’s fourth player to reach 100 caps, after Desailly, Thuram and Didier Deschamps.
France had a slow start to the 2006 World Cup and, after being suspended for the final match of the group stage, Zidane returned to set up a goal for Patrick Vieira and score one himself in the second round match against Spain. In the quarter-final France held Brazil to just one shot on goal in the rematch of the 1998 final. Zidane assisted Thierry Henry’s deciding goal and he was named Man of the Match by FIFA. France faced Portugal in the semi final and, as in Brussels six years earlier, Zidane’s penalty kick decided the contest and sent France to another major final.
Before the 2006 World Cup final in Berlin, Zidane was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament. Having already announced he was to retire after the expiration of his Real Madrid contract at the end of the 2005–06 season, the world of football already knew Zidane’s second World Cup final was to be the last match of his career. Seven minutes into the match Zidane put France ahead with a penalty kick and became only the fourth player in World Cup history to score in two different finals, along with Pelé, Paul Breitner, and Vavá, in addition to being tied for first place with Vavá, Pelé and Geoff Hurst with three World Cup final goals apiece. He almost scored a second goal during the first period of extra time but his header was saved by Italy’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. Zidane was then sent off in the 110th minute of the game after headbutting Marco Materazzi in the chest, so he did not participate in the penalty shootout which Italy won 5–3. Zidane’s actions made headlines all over the world, while in France Le Figaro called his head-butt “odious,” and the front page of L’Equipe asked. “What should we tell our children, for whom you have become an example for ever? … How could that happen to a man like you?.”
“The match you played last night was full of talent and professionalism. I know that you are sad and disappointed but what I want to tell you is that the whole country is extremely proud of you. You have honoured the country with your exceptional qualities and your fantastic fighting spirit, which was your strength in difficult times, but also in winning times.”
—President of France, Jacques Chirac, pays tribute to Zidane in Paris after the 2006 World Cup.
Upon his return to France, the Place de la Concorde in Paris was filled with thousands of fans waving flags and rhythmically chanting “Zizou! Zizou!,” and tributes were led by the French president Jacques Chirac. Chirac’s words reflected the feeling of the French public, with polls done in the immediate wake of the incident showing support for Zidane: 61% of French people said they had already forgiven him for his actions while 52% said they understood them. According to French journalist Philippe Auclair, Zidane’s performances in the knock-out rounds were “ranked among his finest in a blue shirt.” As the player of the tournament, Zidane had given the team hope, with the French daily newspaper Libération stating, “For a month, France was dreaming with Zidane.” Zidane remained an icon to the French public, and one French writer stated, “It’s good for us to see our national hero is fallible.” It was later discovered through interviews that Marco Materazzi had insulted Zidane’s sister, which led to Zidane’s heightened anger and reaction. In 2010, Zidane said that he would “rather die than apologize” to Materazzi for the headbutt in the final, but also admitted that he “could never have lived with himself” had he been allowed to remain on the pitch and help France win the match. He later said, “If you look at the fourteen red cards I had in my career, twelve of them were a result of provocation. This isn’t justification, this isn’t an excuse, but my passion, temper and blood made me react.”
Following his red card in the final, Zidane retired from professional football and confirmed that he would not go back on his decision. He was sentenced by FIFA to a three match suspension for the red card. He agreed to complete three days of community service with children in one of FIFA’s humanitarian projects. Zidane ended up tying with Brazil’s Cafu for the record for most cards given in World Cup matches, with six.
Since his retirement, Zidane has regularly played for the Real Madrid Veterans team. He has also made several futsal appearances. In an interview in June 2008, Zidane stated that he wanted to return to football, but that he had no immediate plans to do so.
On 1 June 2009, Zidane was announced as the advisor to the president after Florentino Pérez was named president of Real Madrid for the second time. He, along with general director Jorge Valdano and sporting director Miguel Pardeza, were to be the key decisionmakers on the sporting side of the club. After France’s dismal campaign in the 2010 World Cup, Zidane said that he did not plan to move into coaching any time soon.
Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid committee announced in September 2010 that Zidane had been appointed as an ambassador for Qatar’s attempt to host the 2022 World Cup. After FIFA announced on 2 December 2010 that Qatar had won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup, Zidane stated that he was “very pleased” with the outcome. Zidane spoke of the message he was trying to convey in the campaign: “I was saying that football belonged to the whole world. I’m proud to have made my contribution to a new country getting the World Cup. Qatar and the entire Middle East as a whole deserves this event and that makes me happy. It’s a victory for the Arab world.”
Zidane during an appearance for the Danone Nations Cup, 2008
On 24 February 2007, before a crowd of 10,000 fans at a match in northern Thailand for the Keuydaroon children’s AIDS charity, Zidane scored the first goal and set up the second for a Malaysian teammate as the match ended 2–2. The event raised ฿260,000 ($7,750). This money paid for the building of two schools and 16 three-bedroom houses.
On 19 November 2008, Zidane took part in the fifth annual Match Against Poverty in Málaga, Spain, which also ended in a 2–2 draw; he went scoreless but set up his team’s second goal. He and Ronaldo, who collaborated in conceiving the yearly event to benefit the United Nations Development Programme, regularly captain their respective teams consisting of active footballers, other professional athletes and celebrities. Zidane, a UN Goodwill Ambassador since 2001, stated before the game that “everyone can do something to make the world a better place.”
Zidane in the Match Against Poverty in Bern, March 2014
In June and July 2009, Zidane toured across Canada with stops in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Although billed as Zidane and “Friends”, the likes of which included Fabien Barthez and Samuel Eto’o, the exhibition matches featured local players. Tournament organisers cited lack of sponsorship and support from the Canadian Soccer Association for the disorganized rosters. Some proceeds were given to UNICEF.
On 6 June 2010, Zidane took part in the biennial charity event Soccer Aid. He played for the Rest of the World team, managed by former Liverpool and Celtic forward Kenny Dalglish against England alongside former Real Madrid teammate Luís Figo and Celtic legend Henrik Larsson. He played against former players such as Teddy Sheringham and Alan Shearer, as well as celebrities such as Hollywood actors Woody Harrelson, Mike Myers, Michael Sheen, chef Gordon Ramsay and singer Robbie Williams. The match took place at Old Trafford in Manchester and was won by The Rest of the World for the first time, the winning penalty scored by Harrelson, after a 2–2 draw.
On 2 June 2013, Zidane took part in a charity match played at Old Trafford as part of the Manchester United Legends vs. Real Madrid Legends reverse fixture. The first leg took place in Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. Part of a team that included the likes of Figo, Fernando Redondo and Manolo Sanchís, the fixture raised funds for the Manchester United Foundation.
Zidane in 2013
In November 2010, Zidane was appointed as a special adviser to Real Madrid’s first team in response to an appeal made by then-Real Madrid coach José Mourinho for the former Real midfielder to work more closely with the team. In his new role, Zidane was expected to participate in Champions League events and functions and was also to travel with the first team on a regular basis and participate in pre-match gatherings, training sessions and meetings with the head coach. In July 2011, it was announced that he would become Real Madrid’s new sporting director. In 2013, Zidane was appointed assistant coach to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid.
Real Madrid Castilla
In June 2014, Real Madrid announced that Zidane will be the coach of Real Madrid’s B team, Real Madrid Castilla. On 29 August, the director of the Spanish National Football Coach Education Centre (CENAFE), Miguel Galán, reported Zidane for acting as Real Madrid Castilla’s head coach without the necessary coaching badges. According to Galán, “No one who has anything to do with the football world can be unaware that Zidane is acting as Real Madrid Castilla’s head coach this season. It is a fait accompli that has been widely accepted, as shown by media reports, and Real Madrid do not deny it.” While the official match report for Castilla’s opening game in the Segunda División B lists Santiago Sánchez as the Los Blancos’ head coach and Zidane as his assistant, Galán states, “This hierarchy only exists on paper. The truth is the exact opposite: Zidane is acting as Real Madrid Castilla’s head coach, while, with all due respect to him as a colleague, Mr Sánchez’s role basically boils down to providing the badges.”
Zidane with Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos lifting the 2016 UEFA Champions League trophy
On 4 January 2016, Real Madrid announced the dismissal of manager Rafael Benítez and on the same day Zidane was appointed the new manager of the club on a two-and-a-half-year deal. His first match as the club’s new manager took place five days later, when Real Madrid beat Deportivo de La Coruña 5–0 in a La Liga match. In his first El Clásico as a manager, held on 2 April at the Camp Nou, Zidane led his club to a 2–1 win over Barcelona to end Barça’s 39-match unbeaten run. Zidane thus became the first Real Madrid manager to win his first Clásico match since Bernd Schuster in December 2007.
On 4 May, Zidane led Real Madrid to a place in the 2016 UEFA Champions League final by beating Manchester City 1–0 on aggregate. Real Madrid finished runners up, just one point behind Barcelona, in La Liga. In the Champions League final on 28 May, Real Madrid defeated fellow Madrid club Atlético Madrid in a penalty shootout. Zidane became the seventh man to win the European Cup/UEFA Champions League as both a player and a manager, the second man (after Miguel Muñoz) to win the trophy with Real Madrid as both a player and a manager, and the first French manager to win the trophy.
On 18 September 2016, Real Madrid defeated Espanyol 2–0 away to post a club-record 16th consecutive La Liga victory, overtaking their previous record of 15 set in 1960–61 and equaling the record of consecutive La Liga wins of Barcelona set in 2010–11. On 18 December 2016, Real Madrid defeated Japanese club Kashima Antlers 4–2 in the final of the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick.
On the 12 January 2017, Madrid’s draw against Sevilla FC in the second leg of the Copa del Rey round of 16 saw him with 40 consecutive matches without a loss – creating a new Spanish record, beating Luis Enrique’s record of 39 matches undefeated with Barcelona.
Reception & legacy
Many authoritative voices have acclaimed Zidane’s skills and importance in the history of football, such as Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who called Zidane “a monster” for his performance and abilities. German coach Franz Beckenbauer stated, “Zidane is one of the greatest players in history, a truly magnificent player.” Italy’s manager Marcello Lippi, who has also coached Zidane, opined, “I think Zidane is the greatest talent we’ve known in football these last twenty years, yet he never played the prima donna. I am honoured to have been his manager.” Former England manager Kevin Keegan said, “You look at Zidane and think ‘I’ve never seen a player quite like that.’ Diego Maradona was a great player. Johan Cruyff was a great player. They were different — but with similarities. What sets Zidane apart is the way he manipulates a football, buying himself space that isn’t there. Add his vision and it makes him very special.” At the 1998 World Cup, Italian manager Cesare Maldini said, “I would give up five players to have Zidane in my squad.”
Among his playing peers, Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimović commented, “Zidane was from another planet. When Zidane stepped onto the pitch, the ten other guys just got suddenly better. It is that simple.” David Beckham has described Zidane as “the greatest of all time”, Barcelona star Xavi has stated in a 2010 interview that Zidane was “the ’90s and early 2000s best player”, while Brazilian defender and former Madrid teammate Roberto Carlos has said of Zidane, “He is the best player I’ve seen. Supporters arrived earlier at the Bernabéu just to see him warm-up.” Brazilian playmaker Ronaldinho stated, “Zidane is one of the best footballers of all time, one of my idols. He had such elegance and grace, a wonderful touch and superb vision.” Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard believes Zidane is “the best ever”.
Zidane advertisement in Algeria. A French national hero of Berber descent, Zidane is an icon in North Africa.
Displaying skills with an array of moves such as his signature La Roulette pirouette, step overs and close ball control, former Brazilian international Rivaldo enjoyed watching Zidane more than any other player, stating, “His elegance of movement on the pitch and his skills are uncanny.” Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso opined, “What he could do with a football is a dream for most of us.” In 2005, upon Zidane’s return to the French national team, his teammate Thierry Henry stated, “In France, everybody realized that God exists, and that he is back in the French international team. God is back, there is little left to say.” Zidane has been lauded by sportsmen outside football; having witnessed Zidane’s goal against Deportivo La Coruña in January 2002, where he dragged the ball right then left, turning the defender inside out, before scoring with a left foot finish, basketball player Magic Johnson stated, “One of the most inspiring nights of my life. Zidane is a phenomenon.”
Zidane has been named FIFA World Player of the Year three times, a feat achieved only by Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. In 2002, ESPN described Zidane as “the greatest player in the world in the world’s biggest game”. In a 2002 FIFA poll, Zidane was selected in the FIFA World Cup Dream Team.In 2004, he was voted UEFA Best European Player of the Past 50 Years, and was named in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players. When uefa.com asked players, journalists and their users to crown the best player in the UEFA Champions League of the past 20 years, in 2011, Zidane topped the poll ahead of Messi. In a 2004 poll conducted by French newspaper Journal du Dimanche, Zidane was voted as “the most popular Frenchman of all time”. In 2014, in a poll carried out by French TV channel TF1, Zidane was voted as the best player in the history of the French league ahead of other French football legends, such as Michel Platini and Raymond Kopa. In 2016, in a study led by French newspaper Le Parisien, Zidane was named “best French player of all time”.
At the age of 17, Zidane met his future wife, Véronique Fernández (born in Aveyron of Spanish descent), while playing for Cannes in the 1988–89 season. Married in 1994, they have four sons: Enzo Alan Zidane Fernández (born 24 March 1995), Luca Zinedine Zidane Fernández (born 13 May 1998), Theo Zidane Fernández (born 18 May 2002), and Elyaz Zidane Fernández (born 26 December 2005). All four boys are members of the Real Madrid Academy. Enzo is a midfielder while Luca is a goalkeeper in Real Madrid Castilla, Theo (midfielder) is in Cadete B and Elyaz (midfielder) in Alevin A.
Zidane has described himself as “a non-practicing Muslim.”
|France||League||Coupe de France||Europe||Total|
|Spain||League||Copa del Rey||Europe||Total|
|2001–02||Real Madrid||La Liga||31||7||9||2||9||3||49||12|
Includes one appearance from the match against FIFA XI on 16 August 2000 which FIFA and the French Football Federation count as an official friendly match.
Award & Honors
- UEFA Intertoto Cup: 1995
- Serie A: 1996–97, 1997–98
- Supercoppa Italiana: 1997
- UEFA Super Cup: 1996
- Intercontinental Cup: 1996
- UEFA Intertoto Cup: 1999
- Real Madrid
- La Liga: 2002–03
- Supercopa de España: 2001, 2003
- UEFA Champions League: 2001–02
- UEFA Super Cup: 2002
- Intercontinental Cup: 2002
- FIFA World Cup: 1998
- UEFA European Football Championship: 2000
- Runners-up : FIFA World Cup: 2006
- Real Madrid
- UEFA Champions League: 2015–16
- UEFA Super Cup: 2016
- FIFA Club World Cup: 2016
- Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year – 1994
- Ligue 1 Player of the Year – 1996
- Serie A Foreign Footballer of the Year – 1997, 2001
- FIFA World Player of the Year – Bronze award 1997, 2002
- ESM Team of the Year – 1997–98, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04
- UEFA Club Midfielder of the Year – 1998
- L’Équipe Champion of Champions: 1998
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team – 1998, 2006
- FIFA World Cup Final Man of the Match – 1998
- World Soccer Awards Player of the Year – 1998
- French Player of the Year – 1998, 2002
- Onze d’Or – 1998, 2000, 2001
- Ballon d’Or – 1998
- FIFA World Player of the Year – 1998, 2000, 2003
- FIFA XI – 1998
- El País European Player of the Year – 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003
- UEFA Euro Player of the Tournament – 2000
- UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament – 2000, 2004
- Serie A Footballer of the Year – 2001
- UEFA Team of the Year – 2001, 2002, 2003
- UEFA Champions League Final Man of the Match – 2002
- La Liga Best Foreign Player – 2002
- UEFA Club Footballer of the Year – 2002
- FIFA World Cup Dream Team – 2002
- FIFA 100 – 2004
- UEFA Best European Player of the Past 50 Years – 2004
- FIFA FIFPro World XI – 2005, 2006
- IFFHS World’s Best Playmaker – 2006
- FIFA World Cup Golden Ball – 2006
- FIFA World Player of the Year – Silver award 2006
- UNFP Honorary Award – 2007
- Marca Leyenda Award – 2008
- Golden Foot Legend Award – 2008
- ESPN Team of the Decade – 2009
- ESPN Player of the Decade – 2009
- Sports Illustrated Player of the Decade – 2009
- Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award – 2011
- UEFA team of teams – 2011
- UEFA Champions League Best Player of the Past 20 Years – 2011
- Équipe type spéciale 20 ans des trophées UNFP – 2011
- World Soccer Greatest XI of All Time – 2013
- UEFA Ultimate Team of the Year (substitute; published 2015)
- UEFA Euro All Time XI – 2016
- UEFA La Liga Team Revelation of the Year – 2016
- UEFA Champions League Breakthrough XI – 2016
- IFFHS World’s Best Club Coach – Runner-up – 2016
- Best FIFA Men’s Coach – Runner-up – 2016
- French Manager of the Year – 2016
- Le Buteur Coach of the Year – 2017
5th Class/Knight: Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur: 1998
3rd Class/Athir: Athir de l’Ordre du mérite national: 2006
4th Class/Officer: Officier de la Légion d’Honneur: 2009
- Oldest player to win the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball: 34 years and 17 days
- Oldest goalscorer in a FIFA World Cup Final Match: 34 years and 17 days
- Most goals scored in FIFA World Cup Final matches: 3 goals (shared with Pelé, Vavá and Geoff Hurst)
- Most FIFA World Cup Final matches scored in: 2 matches (shared with Pelé, Vavá and Paul Breitner)
- Most yellow cards received in FIFA World Cup matches: 6 (shared with Cafu and Rafael Márquez)
- Most red cards received in FIFA World Cup matches: 2 (shared with Rigobert Song)
- Best winning streak in the history of La Liga: 16 games (shared with Pep Guardiola)
- Longest unbeaten run in Real Madrid history: 40 games
- Longest unbeaten run in Spanish football: 40 games