Every once in a long while, the world of football is braced by a legend who goes beyond his generation. A legend who the people can collectively agree about his masterpiece and skillsmanship. Zinedine Zidane is one of such few legends. Starting out as a player, Zidane has had the opportunity of winning prestigious titles such as the Euro Cup and the World Cup. When he hung up his boots, he took up a managerial role and he is excelling at it both at the state and national levels. Here are 25 amazing facts about Zinedine Zidane.
1. He is nicknamed Zizou
Zinedine Zidane has one of the easiest nicknames. Most of his fans and friends call him Zizou. The origin of the name is not exactly known, but two of the most dominant theories are; one, he was first called so by a friend who reminded him of another skilled player called Zizou. Two, the nickname came about since people shied away from calling him Zizi, which in French slang means the male private organ.
In 1998, when he led his country to win the World Cup, the French were singing a single name -Zizou, Zizou! for days on end.
2. Young talent
Zidane was born on the 23rd of June, 1972 in Marseille, France. His parents were Algerian immigrants and he started playing football in the streets of La Castellane. The street was at that time a rough part of Marseille. After Zidane had starred in the area's youth clubs, his talent was discovered. From age 14 and for three years onwards, Zidane honed his skills in Cannes Youth Division.
His maiden appearance to professional football was at the age of 17, for Cannes. He did not shy away from his first appearance, as he scored a debut goal. Later in 1992, Zidane moved to Bordeaux.
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3. Record-breaking transfer fee
When a player has good talent, world-class clubs will kill to have him play for their teams. In 2001, Zidane moved to Real Madrid from Juventus. The move was expected to happen, but what may have shocked many people is his transfer fee. The transfer fee, $81 million, was a record high at the time.
Zidane didn't disappoint as he led Real Madrid to new accolades through his leadership skills and masterful offensive strategies.
4. Winning goals
Throughout his footballing career, Zidane has scored record-shattering goals that have changed the outcome of the team he's on. In the 1998 World Cup final. France was facing off against a resilient Brazil. France went ahead to win the match, and the tournament by three goals to none. Two of the three goals scored were let in by Zinedine Zidane.
Above winning the match and the most prestigious trophy in the world of football, he was also named as the man of the match.
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5. Countless accolades
Zinedine Zidane is arguably one of the most decorated players. He has won a great for his team and nation. On a personal level, he has won a countless number of titles and awards. He has won not one or two, but three FIFA World Player of the Year Award. The awards were won in 1998, 2000, and 2003. Still, in 1998, he won the distinguished Ballon d'Or.
Some of the other titles awarded include a Serie A footballer of the year, Ligue 1 Player of the Year and La Liga Best Foreign Player. In 2006, Zidane received the Golden Ball player of the tournament.
6. Most cards received in World Cup
The World Cup is where football players go to show their finesse and skills. Many players will most likely play very carefully and avoid to be booked by the referee. Zidane is not one of those players though, during his appearances in the World Cup, he got booked by the referee six times. The most known of his bookings was when he headbutted an opposing player in the 2006 World Cup.
During his career, Zinedine Zidane has been given the red card a total of 16 times.
7. Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid Ambassador
Qatar tossed their bid to host the 2022 World Cup in the ring. In September 2010, the Qatar selecting committee decided to select Zidane to be their ambassador and represent their bid to host the reputable event.
Zidane, being a Muslim was elated when Qatar was selected as the host country. He went ahead and remarked that football was meant to be enjoyed by the whole world.
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8. Most beloved Frenchman
The French have given the world some of the best gifted both on the pitch and off it. When it comes to football, Zinadene Zidane was voted to be the most popular Frenchman of all time.
The poll was carried out by Journal du Dianche, a French newspaper. Still, in another poll, Zidane was voted as the best player of the French League in history. This poll was conducted by a French TV channel TF1. It goes without saying, Zinedine Zidane holds a very special place in the hearts of Frenchmen. His love goes just beyond the French, he is beloved both within and outside the country's boundaries.
9. Highest paid footballer
When you have great talent, one of the things you should try and figure out how to do, is to monetize the talent. Zidane is without a doubt one of the most talented players in football history.
Did you also know, he is one of the well-paid players of his time? Zidane is on the top ten list of highest paid footballers. He is ranked as the 6th highest paid player.
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10. Mega sponsorships
A man of great talent who carries himself with such class is also set to attract his fair share of sponsorships. Some of the sponsorships he represents include Lego, Adidas, France Telecom, Audi, Orange, Christian Dior, and Volvic.
These sponsorships have earned him well over 10 million dollars in income. Doesn't hurt to be the best.
11. Royal treatment
It is already evident that Zidane is taken in high regard throughout France. What may come as a surprise though, is when he goes outside France, he is still taken in high regard. When he was invited by the Bangladeshi Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Mr. Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladesh government gave Zidane the official reception. He was also admired by the whole country during his visit there.
Likewise, when he visited Algeria, the country his parents were originally from, he was received in highest regard both by the people and the state.
12. Legion d'honneur Recipient
In 1998, after Zidane had won the World Cup for France through two majestic goals, he was awarded the Legion d'honneur. Besides having his name chanted over the world, his work and effort were also recognized.
13. Best European Footballer
If you haven't gotten used to it, you should. Success has followed Zinedine Zidane and he has the trophies to show for it. Due to his exceptional playing skills, Zidane was named to be the best European player in UEFA, for the past 50 years. This was done through the UEFA Golden Jubilee poll.
The poll went ahead to regard him as one of the most authentic and reliable representatives of popular opinion.
14. Expensive headbutt
In the 2006 World Cup final, France went up against Italy in a thrilling match. However, Zinadene Zidane is not remembered for having participated in the game, he is mostly remembered for his actions. He headbutted Italy's Marco Materazzi, forcing him to the ground. He was sent off the field by the referee after being given a red card.
Many Frenchmen see it as one of their hurtful loses. Though he claims he had his reasons, his actions may have cost the French the 2006 World Cup title.
Fans have a tendency of copying people they like and look up to. In the '98 World Cup, after Zidane had displayed utter brilliance, the world went ahead to copy him. Many admired him and wanted to be associated with him, thus a new hairstyle hit the world like a wave. His 'monk' hairstyle could be seen everywhere and many people from men, women, and children all had the style.
16. Breaking barriers
Zinedine Zidane is officially the first known footballer to have broken the sound barrier with a mere football kick.
17. Greatest scorer in the champions league
It was on May 15th, 2002 that Zidane went into the history books yet again. The match was set between his side Real Madrid, and the opposing side, Bayer Leverkusen. Zidane scored a goal that was regarded as to the best goal in the history of Champions League.
That goal went ahead to secure a decisive 2-1 win and the Champions League title for Real Madrid for a stunning ninth time.
18. First French manager
Real Madrid is one of the most formidable teams in Europe. Since its establishment, it has had about 47 coaches who've led the team a notch higher. However, of all those coaches, not a single one was from France, until Zidane happened.
Zinedine Zidane is the first French coach to manage the Real Madrid side through its over 11o years of existence.
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19. Playing for charity
In March 2001, Zinedine Zidane was appointed by the United Nations to be the Goodwill Ambassador. Since then, Zidane has, once a year, captained a star-studded team to face off against fellow icon and UN ambassador, Ronaldo. The proceedings from the match go towards charity,
20. Song after Zidane
In June 2004, the song Zinedine Zidane was released on Youtube and would later make it as a hit. The song is performed by Vaudeville Smash, a group from Coburg, Melbourne. The voice in the lyrics is Les Murray, who in those days was recognized as the voice of soccer for Australia.
21. Favorite team
Dreams start from a tender age, and it was no different for Zinedine Zidane. Recently, it has been revealed that Zidane had, as a kid, signed up to join Juventus. It was his favorite team in Italy. Barcelona was his favorite team in Spain.
22. Intertwined success
Zidane is only one of four coaches of Real Madrid who have previously won the World Cup as players. The others are Jupp Heynckes who won it in 1974, Jorge Valdano who won the World Cup in 1986, and Hector Scarone who won it in 1930.
23. The ladder of success
Zidane did not just wake up one day and start coaching Real Madrid. His journey has been long and tasking, but in the long run, has borne fruits.
In 2009, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez appointed Zinedine Zidane to be the club's advisor. In 2011, he was appointed as the club's sporting director. In 2013 - 2014, he acted as the assistant coach to Carlo Ancelotti and led the team to yet another Champions League title. Soon after, Florentino Perez appointed Zidane to coach Real Madrid's B team -Real Madrid Castilla. This was despite him lacking the necessary coaching badges and certificates. He later got the badges and certificates and is now a fully certified coach.
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24. Future Zidanes
Any great man is known by the legacy he leaves behind. On the field, Zidane has set himself as one of a kind, with standards that many dream of achieving, but few ever will. However, there is promising talent right in the lineage of Zidane.
The star has three boys and they all show mega talent and look forward to shuttering their father's records. He says he would very much love them to follow in his footsteps, and that includes working as hard as he did to get to the top of the football tier.
The world can only wait in anticipation for what the youngsters have to show, and what new limits they're willing to reach.
25. Unorthodox coaching
Many would have liked to see Zidane coaching the French national team. But it is not yet that time, as he is Belgium's assistant coach in the World Cup. He has shown a lot of promise and has cultivated the young Belgian team to a third-place finish in the 2018 World Cup.
While many may have wanted to see the Frenchman face off against his own country in the final, they had to settle for an impressive second runner's up, beating famed teams such as England and Brazil. His tactics sure seem to pay off.
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The Important Take Away
It is rare to see a player who puts all they have into football. When discipline meets talent, only greatness can abound. Zinedine Zidane is the living embodiment of hard work, dedication, focus, and discipline in the football world. His name will live on long after him, besides other legends of his caliber.