Zinedine Zidane- A Profile


It’s Friday night and instead of being out and about like a typical teenager, I am indoors watching videos of Zinedine Zidane & to be honest, i think i am enjoying the Zidane videos more than i would if i was outside socialising, which has led me to want to write up a profile of his illustrious career.

Zinedine Yazid Zidane, nicknamed Zizou, was born in France on the 23rd of June in 1972. His parents were of Algerian descent and fled to France during the early 50’s to escape the Algerian War. In the mid 60’s Zidane’s parents moved from Saint-Denis to La Castellanem, Marseille, which was infamous for its high unemployment rate and crime rate. The youngest of 5 siblings and with his father as usually on the late shift at a department store and his mother a housewife, Zizou’s first introduction to football began at the age of 5, would usually play on the rough streets of Marseille on a 80-by-20 yard area which was in the surrounding areas of his home.

At the age of 14 whilst playing for Septemes, he was asked to partake in a 3 day course at a local sporting institute where he was spotted by AS Cannes scout Jean Varraud who was impressed and recommended him to join up for a trial for Cannes. Initially, it was a 6 week trial but eventually stayed for 4 years at the club. He made his professional debut on the 18th May, 1989 at the age of 17 but did not score his first goal until 2 years after his debut, in 1991 in a 2-1 against Nantes, for which he was gifted a car by the president of AS Cannes for scoring his first goal for the club. Before leaving, Zizou helped them finish 4th, which to this day is still their highest finish in Ligue 1.

In the 1992-1993 season, Bordeaux came in for him and by 1995, he had won his first major trophy of his career, which was followed by finishing running up in the 95-96 UEFA cup final. Bixente Lizarazu and Christophe Dugarry were his usual midfield companions and would become a sort of hallmark for the French national team and his club side, Bordeaux. Meanwhile in England, Kenny Dalglish (then manager of Blackburn Rovers) expressed interest in signing for Zidane and Lizarazu, and rightfully so, they had become integral parts of both club and country, to which owner of Blackburn, Tim Sherwood replied to claims of signing Zizou “Why would we sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood? (I had to Wiki Tim Sherwood, too.)

This is where i really remember seeing Zidane as a kid until his next transfer move. In 1996, Juventus came into sign him for a fee of £3.2 million and when the Champions League winners come in for you, you must be a special player. In his first season he won the Serie A title & the Intercontinental cup. The year after in 1997, Zizou and Juve lost 3-1 against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final, in which he was man-marked by Aston Villa’s current helmsman, Paul Lambert who was deployed in a man marking role to keep Zizou quiet, who had players such as Deschamps behind him at the base of the spin and failed to make an impression. In the ‘98 season, Zidane scored 7 goals to help Juve retain the Scudetto, whilst also aiding in Juventus reaching the Champions League final again, but lost 1-0 to Real Madrid, thus falling at the last hurdle again. The following year, Juventus finished second in Serie A & were eliminated in group-stages of the Champions League; Zizou was also banned during their campaign for a headbutt (Sound like another incident?) on Jochen Kientz during the group phase.

This is where I am sure majority of you will remember Zidane, in his Madrid days as a Galactico. In 2001, Juventus accepted a world record transfer fee of 75 million euros, which saw Zidane leave and be replaced by Pavel Nedved who was drafted in as a direct replacement for him. In 2002, Zidane scored one of my favourite goals; I would say it’s a solid 5th, maybe higher in my top 10 goals. I’ll set the scene for you just in case you don’t know what goal I’m on about. It’s the 2002 Champions League final, Madrid are tipped to win it at Hampden Park against  Bayern Leverkusen and Raul scores the opener 8 minutes in, it looks like an easy day at the footballing office for Zizou and his team but big Lucio, the Brazilian centre-half scores 5 minutes later to level it all up. It’s the stroke of half-time and Roberto Carlos surges down the line and stands a chipped cross to Zidane, initially looking too high and on his “weaker” foot, Zidane has another idea, I kid you not, just below shoulder height volley on his left peg into the top corner, which was the winning goal and completed his personal quadruple. I’ll post a link for the people who haven’t seen it, be ready for your jaw to drop. A year later and Zidane wins the La Liga title with Madrid and named FIFA World Player of the Year for the third time. Finally, during his Madrid tenure in 2004, he was voted the best European footballer in UEFA’s history, he was wicked basically!

I am gonna gloss over majority of his International career and highlight the best bits, starting with his only World Cup win in 1998. France were the hosts and with this being Zidane’s first tournament on the world stage he was keen to impress. France flew out the traps and won all 3 of their group stages games, but Zidane received a red-card in the 2nd game against Saudi Arabia for a stamp on a player, another hint of his bite he had in his play which he would show time and time again, once on the biggest stage of them all. After missing the last 16 game against Paraguay which France won, he returned to defeat Italy 4-3 on penalties after a goalless draw in the quarters. Croatia stood between them and the final against Brazil, they won 2-1, with Zizou being a huge part, although, he hadn’t scored…yet. Emmanuelle Petit got two assists from corners with Zidane dispatching both. With one hand already on the trophy, Petit finished off the final with a goal of his own. Zidane’s image was projected onto the Arc De Triomph as a result of winning them a World Cup. After Euro 2004 and turning a 1 nil deficit against England into a 2-1 win by scoring a free-kick and a penalty after Henry was brought down by David James(?) trying to rectify a horrendous Steven Gerrard back pass, Zizou threw up before taking this penalty by the way, he retired. 2006 came around and things looked bleak for the French national team with Desailly, Makelele and Lilian Thuram all announcing their retirement, Raymond Domenech persuaded Zidane to come back into the French set-up, he was automatically reinstated as captain & as well as Thuram & Makelele, made his return against the Faroe Islands and won 3-0, which led them to win their qualifying group. With a goal and an assist against Spain in the second round match, he then assisted Henry (Which was the only time they ever combined for a goal and with Henry being France’s all time top goal scorer and Zidane being Zidane, it seems absurd?) France then faced Portugal with Zidane putting them through with a spot-kick. The final against Italy was Zidane’s last competitive match as prior to the tournament he announced he would be retiring from football completely at the end of his Madrid contract; everyone knew the final of the 2006 World Cup would be his last chance for glory.

Before the final, he was awarded the Golden Ball, meaning he was deemed the best player of the tournament and 7 minutes into the final, he put France ahead with a penalty, becoming the fourth player in history to score in two different World Cup Finals and nearly scored another in the 2nd half of extra time but saw his header saved by GiGi Buffon. Then, in the 110th minute, after an altercation with Marco Materazzi he then head-butted him in the chest, which initially the ref did no see happen and had to refer to his linesman before sending off Zidane, at the time, I was devastated as it was the end of a career and was in touching distance of a perfect send of(f) (excuse the pun) and then the most iconic image in football arguably in the 21st century, him walking down the steps to the dressing room past the World Cup with him out of focus in the background. My heart sunk as Italy won 5-3 on penalties but interviews with Zidane since he has said he would “rather die” than apologise to Materazzi and “could never live with himself” if he didn’t do what he did suggests he knew exactly what he was doing and nothing would of changed it, I mean he has previous so why not? But 10 times out of 10, an event like that would tarnish an entire career, but not Zizou.

With 506 club appearances and 95 goals, his tally works out one goal every 5.3 games and for a player who could score unbelievable goals, I think that’s acceptable. He also played 108 times for France and scored 31 goals, but I think his most stand out stat is he receive a total of 14 red cards in his career, which is more than hard man Vinnie Jones. He will forever be one of my favourite players and I can’t wait to see son, Enzo play regularly for the Real Madrid first team in which he was signed as a youngster and if he inherits even half of his father’s ability, we could have a real treat on our hands in the near future.

Here’s the volley I was on about, check it out, yeah!