When it comes to soccer’s talismans, no list would be complete without the name of Zinedine Zidane, a highly skillful and brilliant player. Zidane is a terrific professional and one of the finest players in football history. Zidane, a master of the game’s foundations and methods, is noted for his outstanding control and dribbling talents, as well as his magic touch, focused vision, and strong leadership qualities. During his playing career, he was one of the top receivers and ball controllers in the league. He scored 31 goals in 108 international appearances. Zidane’s love for the game began when he was a child. People had no idea at the time that he would go on to make soccer history with his incredible talent and prowess. He had an incredible career, winning the ‘FIFA World Cup’ (1998) and the ‘Euro’ (2000) while playing for France. He was France’s most prominent player during his playing career. Zidane has received numerous prestigious accolades and medals for his achievements, including the ‘FIFA World Player of the Year’ and the ‘Ballon D’Or.’ On his retirement, he received the 2006 ‘FIFA World Cup Golden Ball’ for his remarkable commitment to the game.
Childhood and Adolescence
Zinedine Zidane was born in Marseille, France, on June 23, 1972, to Smaal and Malika Zidane. He has four older brothers and sisters. His family, who are of Algerian Kabyle Berber heritage, lived in La Castellane, a suburb of Marseille in northern France.
His father worked as a warehouseman, while his mother was a stay-at-home mom. Unlike the rest of the neighborhood, the Zidane family was well-liked and led a relatively comfortable life, in contrast to those who were unemployed and involved in high crime.
At the infant age of five, Zidane was introduced to the game of football. He played the game with the other kids in the neighborhood at the Place Tartane, the housing complex’s main square.
Zidane was affected by his idols, Olympique Marseille players Blaz Sliskovic, Enzo Francescoli, and Jean-Pierre Papin, during his early years.
Years of Amateurism
At the age of ten, Zidane obtained his player license for a local club’s junior squad in La Castellane. He only stayed with the club for approximately a year and a half before moving to ‘SO Septemes-les-Vallons.’
After a two-and-a-half-year partnership with ‘Septemes,’ Zidane was picked for a three-day training camp at the ‘CREPS’ in Aix-en-Provence. His exceptional ball skills and technique drew the attention of ‘AS Cannes’ scout Jean Varraud, who suggested him to the club’s training center director.
Zidane spent four years at ‘Cannes,’ which was supposed to be a six-week visit. He lived with other trainees in the hostel for the first few months before moving in with ‘Cannes’ director Jean-Claude Elineau and his family. Zidane discovered equilibrium when spending time with the Elineau family.
Years in a Professional Club
On May 18, 1989, Zidane made his professional debut for ‘Cannes’ in a ‘Ligue 1’ match against ‘Nantes.’
He scored his debut goal against ‘Nantes’ in 1991, giving his club a 2-1 victory. After finishing fourth in the league, the club went on to secure its first ever European football berth by qualifying for the ‘UEFA Cup’ with Zidane at the helm. It was the club’s best finish in the Premier League.
Zidane was a member of the ‘Girondins de Bordeaux’ in 1992-93. His contribution was outstanding, and the team went on to win the ‘Intertoto Cup’ in 1995. The club finished second in the ‘UEFA Cup’ in 1995-96.
On the field, Zidane developed a series of midfield combinations with Bixente Lizarazu and Christophe Dugarry that became a signature for ‘Bordeaux’ and the 1998 French national team.
For a stunning £3.2 million, Zidane moved to ‘UEFA Champions League’ winners ‘Juventus’ in 1996. Not only did ‘Juventus’ win the ‘Serie A’ in 1996-97, but they also won the ‘Intercontinental Cup.’
Paul Lambert nullified Zidane’s skills, and ‘Juventus’ lost the 1997 ‘UEFA Champions League’ final against ‘Borussia Dortmund.’
Zidane had a fantastic year in 1998, scoring seven goals in 32 games to set a new record. His team not only won the ‘Serie A’ in 1997-98, but also retained the ‘Scudetto.’ For the third time, ‘Juventus’ reached the ‘UEFA Champions League’ final, but were defeated by ‘Real Madrid.’
In 2001, Zidane signed with ‘Real Madrid’ for a then-world-record cost of 150 billion Italian lire. ‘Real Madrid’ won convincingly during Zidane’s four-year contract, thus the investment was well worth it. In Madrid’s 2–1 win over ‘Bayer Leverkusen’ in the 2002 ‘UEFA Champions League’ final, he scored the iconic match-winning goal, a volley hit with his weaker foot.
In the following seasons, Zidane led ‘Real Madrid’ to the ‘La Liga’ title in 2002–03. As a result of his remarkable achievement, he received numerous honors.
Despite the fact that ‘Real Madrid’ did not win any trophies during Zidane’s final season with the club, his personal statistics were still impressive. In a 4–2 win over ‘Sevilla FC’ in January 2006, he scored his first career hat-trick and finished the season as ‘Real Madrid’s’ second-highest goal-scorer.
On May 7, 2006, Zidane scored in a 3–3 draw against ‘Villarreal CF,’ his last home match for the club.
Career Opportunities on the Global Stage
Zidane made his international debut in a friendly match against the Czech Republic, where he was a substitute. Despite the fact that he was only used as a replacement, his arrival proved to be the team’s saving grace, as he scored twice to assist France to a 2-2 draw.
The year-long suspension of Eric Cantona aided Zidane in his successful takeover of the playmaker role in 1995. After the match finished with neither team scoring a goal, France was eliminated from the ‘Euro 96’ semi-finals in a penalty shootout the next year.
In 1998, Zidane made his first appearance at the ‘FIFA World Cup.’ He showed promise and character throughout the event. He was excellent in every game he played, but he struggled to score goals. France climbed the rankings by defeating each of its opponents en route to the semi-finals, where it defeated Croatia 2–1 to earn a spot in the finals.
The 1998 ‘FIFA World Cup’ final pitted France against defending winners Brazil, who were considered favorites to win the tournament. Zidane, who had not scored a goal at the ‘World Cup,’ went on to score two goals in the first half, both headers, to give France the lead at 2-0. France won the game and its first ever ‘World Cup’ at the end of the second half. Zidane was hailed as a national hero almost immediately.
France won the ‘Euro 2000’ two years later, becoming the first country since West Germany in 1974 to win both the ‘World Cup’ and the ‘European Championship.’ Zidane was the tournament’s hero once again, scoring two goals, one in the quarter-final against Spain and the other in the semi-final against Portugal.
However, at the 2002 ‘FIFA World Cup,’ the reigning world and European champions were dealt a blow when Zidane, their most trusted and capable player, suffered a thigh injury. France lost their first two games without him on the field. Despite being unfit, Zidane was brought back for the third game. His medical condition, however, prevented him from performing at his best, adding to the frustrations of the defending champions, who were eliminated in the group stage without scoring a single goal.
According to reports, ‘Euro 2004’ was Zidane’s final competition before retiring. France won their group with victories against England and Switzerland, but lost in the quarter-finals to Greece.
Zidane’s retirement occurred at a time when several other experienced French players were also retiring. France struggled to qualify for the 2006 ‘World Cup’ without some of its best players. Zidane returned to the team and was instantly reinstalled as captain at the request of then-coach Raymond Domenech.
France showed vigour and character under Zidane’s guidance. The team defeated their opponents to advance to the quarter-finals, where they will face Brazil. After that, France defeated Brazil 1-0.
In the semi-finals, Zidane’s penalty kick proved pivotal as France overcame Portugal to advance to the finals against Italy. His career came to an end in the 2006 ‘FIFA World Cup’ final. Just minutes after the game began, Zidane scored a goal, taking full advantage of a penalty kick to give France the lead. However, Zidane was sent off after a heated altercation and a headbutt that knocked Marco Materazzi down. He was not permitted to take part in the penalty shootout, which Italy won 5–3 on penalties.
Retirement and Life After Retirement
Zidane’s final match came against Italy in the 2006 ‘FIFA World Cup’ final. He has played with the ‘Real Madrid Veterans’ team on a regular basis since his retirement. He’s also appeared in a few futsal matches.
President Florentino Perez of ‘Real Madrid’ appointed Zidane as an advisor in 2009. Zidane was a crucial decision-maker for the club, along with General Director Jorge Valdano and Sporting Director Miguel Pardeza.
He was the high-profile spokesman for Qatar’s successful bid to host the ‘World Cup’ in 2022 in 2010. Following the coach’s request to work more closely with the club, Zidane became a special advisor for ‘Real Madrid’ in 2010. He was appointed as the club’s sporting director the following year.
Zidane began teaching the club’s youth program in 2012, marking the first step toward him directing the shots from the sidelines. He also took part in the ‘All Stars Match’ against ‘Manchester United,’ which Real Madrid won 3-2.
Career as a Manager
Zidane took over as head coach of Real Madrid’s B team, ‘Real Madrid Castilla,’ in June 2014. In early 2016, he was named manager of ‘Real Madrid,’ and he guided the team to a victory over ‘FC Barcelona,’ ending the Catalan club’s 39-match unbeaten streak.
In his first full season as manager, the club won 16 games in a row, surpassing their previous best of 15 and matching Barcelona’s record. He also led the squad to the UEFA Champions League final in 2016, which Real Madrid won in a penalty shootout.
He became the second coach since 1990 to lead the squad to a second consecutive win in the 2017 ‘UEFA Champions League’ against ‘Manchester.’ In addition, the squad won the ‘European Cup’ three times in a row, making him the only coach in history to do so.
After leaving as coach in May 2018, Zidane was asked to take over as head coach of ‘Real Madrid’ in March 2019, despite the team’s poor performance. He was later hired as their head coach, with a contract that runs until the summer of 2022.
Side of Philanthropy
Zidane has participated in a number of charity games. His first match was in 2007 for the ‘Keuydaroon children’s AIDS charity,’ in which he scored a goal and assisted on another for a Malaysian teammate. The event raised $7,750, which was used to construct two schools and 16 three-bedroom dwellings. He competed in the fifth annual ‘Match Against Poverty’ in Malaga, Spain the following year. Despite the fact that he did not score, he was instrumental in setting up a goal for a teammate. The event is held every year to raise money for the ‘United Nations Development Program.’ Every year, the event attracts a large number of active footballers, professional sportsmen, and celebrities.
Zidane toured Canada in 2009, stopping in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. The event’s revenues were donated to ‘UNICEF.’
Zidane represented the ‘Rest of the World’ team against England in the bi-annual charity event ‘Soccer Aid’ in 2010. Henrik Larsson, Kenny Dalglish, Teddy Sheringham, David Seaman, and Alan Shearer were among the veteran soccer players who took part in the event. After a 2-2 tie, Zidane’s squad won the match in a penalty shootout.
Zidane was observed at the 2013 charity match between the ‘Manchester United Legends’ and the ‘Real Madrid Legends’ at Old Trafford. The match’s revenues were donated to the ‘Manchester United Foundation.’
In 2015, Zidane and Ronaldo took part in the annual ‘Match Against Poverty,’ with the earnings going to nations affected by the Ebola epidemic. In 2018, Zidane represented France in a charity match against a ‘All-Star’ team that included sprinter Usain Bolt. The match ended in a 3-2 victory for France.
Achievements & Awards
In 1998, 2000, and 2003, Zidane was named FIFA World Player of the Year three times. He’s also received honors for ‘FIFA World Cup Final Man of the Match,’ ‘FIFA 100 Greatest Living Footballers,’ and ‘FIFA World Cup Golden Ball.’ He was a member of the ‘FIFA World Cup Dream Team’ and the ‘FIFA World Cup All-Star Team.’
In 1998, Zidane won the ‘Ballon d’Or.’ In 1998, 2001, 2002, and 2003, he won the ‘European Player of the Year’ award four times.
He is one of just a few players who have won both the FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or. In 1998 and 2002, Zidane was named “French Player of the Year.”
Personal History and Legacy
In the 1988-89 season, Zidane met Véronique Fernández while playing for ‘Cannes.’ In 1994, Zidane and Fernández married. Enzo Alan Zidane Fernández, Luca Zinedine Zidane Fernández, Theo Fernández, and Elyaz Zidane Fernández are the couple’s four children. Luca and Theo are Real Madrid Academy members.
Estimated Net Worth
Zinedine Zidane has a net worth of $120 million.
He began playing football when he was four years old. At the age of ten, he received his first player’s license. At the age of 17, he made his professional debut, and at the age of 26, he won the ‘World Cup.’ When he was 28 years old, he won the ‘European Championship.’
In 2001, he signed for ‘Real Madrid’ for a then-world-record amount of 150 billion Italian lire. It was the most money ever paid to a footballer for a transfer.
After announcing his retirement, he returned to lead France in the 2006 ‘FIFA World Cup.’ It was a fairytale ending to an incredible career, as France advanced to the finals under his watchful eye. However, due to his absence in the penalty shootout, his squad was unable to win the ‘World Cup.’
He scored his first ‘World Cup’ goal against Brazil in the finals of the 1998 ‘FIFA World Cup.’ He scored two identical goals in the match, both headers, to lead France to victory. His heroic performance in the match earned him the title of national hero.