Great footballers are of two types- club legends and national heroes. Zinedine Yazid Zidane, popularly known as ‘Zizou’, is one of these very rare species of such type who have performed both in the renowned clubs and for their countries.
Zidane was eligible to play for both Algeria and France. There was a rumor that then Algerian coach denied him for a position of Algerian squad as he was not too fast. Truly he had a chance to play for both Algeria and France. Since he had played for France already, so he didn’t want to change the nationality and Zizou revealed that fact in an interview in 2015.
Zidane born in 1972, started his career at the very early age of 10 years; but his appearance flourished worldwide from 1996, by joining Juventus-at his 24. He had played for 10 years from ’96 only: five years for Juventus and five years for Real Madrid, won everything as a player and as a team- league trophy, champions league trophy, Ballon d’Or and most importantly won the hearts of football supporters.
Zidane was not a scorer, he was the complete playmaker. 95 goals in 506 club appearance could not describe his ability of scoring goals. Some of his valuable and epoch-making goals frequently enriched his team’s showcase of success. The best goal of Champions League which came from a powerful volley by Zidane’s weaker foot against Bayer Leverkusen in 2002 is most notable.
The best side of Zidane is his performing capability as a national player. He played for France U-17, U-18 and U-21 young team from 1988 to 1994. After achieving the place for France national team in 1996, the long cherished dream of the European power France of being the World Cup Champion had become true by Zidane’s army. Literally, Zizou was the knight who demolished mighty Brazil in 1998’s final. France had won the 2000 Euro Championship too by Zidane’s foot.
The next world cup (2002) was a nightmare for the French. Zidane was not physically fit for that time and the result was obvious. France slipped from the Group stage.
Even defeated by under-dog Greece in the final, France lost their Euro Championship in 2004. At such time, Zidane announced his retirement for the first time.
With the mass retirement of the veteran key players like Makelele, Lilian Thuram and moreover Zidane, France struggled to qualify for the 2006 world cup. Zidane had to come back, so did he and he created the tragedy.
France had the chance to be the champion for the second time. The plot was written, the stage was ready and the ambiance was in the favor. But the gladiator made a blunder after scoring a well-judged penalty. The headbutting of Marco Materazzi determined Zizou’s fate and France had to compensate by the title. France lost the final against Italy in the penalty shootout by 5-3.
Zidane was pre-determined for his retirement after the 2006’s World Cup. So the three-match suspension given by the FIFA due to the headbutting incidence was paid by him by completing the three days community service in FIFA’s child humanitarian project.
After the retirement, the coaching career of Zinedine Zidane seems to be as bright as his playing career. From 2014, Zidane has won the most precious Champions League trophy for the club football twice already. Everybody has to remind that he is only 46 now and hopefully the better is waiting.
As a player, Zizou has won Euro, World Cup, Ballon d’Or, Golden Ball and as a coach, he had guided Real Madrid to win two Champions Leagues. Moreover, the black-spot of his career is his 14 red card. By his own speech, “If u look at the fourteen red cards 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”. And that is why Zinedine Zidane is a human being despite his incredible skills, capability, and achievements.