Here, we will talk about some pivotal Zinedine Zidane records.Football is a game followed with ardent enthusiasm from many sections around the globe. Unlike some other sports, its not exactly a “classy” sport but has been the channel for many to achieve a luxurious life similar to any other high-profile profession. Therefore, the future of football now is not like when it was during Patrice Evra’s time when he was ridiculed for mentioning football as a profession.
People aren’t scared to pursue their talents and this is all due to the encouragement that they find in some players who have set the benchmarks for the game. Legends like Pele and Diego Maradona have been at the forefront of the mindsets of many budding players. They have emerged as rolemodels....just like a certain boy staying in the rugged southern suburbs of La Castellane, Marseille, who emerged to be one of the greatest players in the game. He made his opponents look like fools with his persistent vision, amazing technique and flawless flair. Also, he had an amazing influence on his team and brought out the best in his teammates. He is Zinedine Zidane.
Zinedine Yazid Zidane, affectionately called as Zizou, was born on June 23,1972. He presently works as an assistant coach and is the sporting director of Real Madrid F.C. Playing for major European stalwarts like Real Madrid and Juventus in his favoured attacking midfield position, Zidane made a mark on the game of football in countless occassions. Here are some of his signifant achievements over the years.
Achievements of Zinedine Zidane:
He made his professional debut at the age of 16 with Cannes on 18 May 1989 against Nantes in a French Division match. Incidentally, he scored his first goal against the same team in a 2-1 triumph for Cannes on February 8, 1991 and was rewarded with a car from the club.
In this season, Cannes qualified for the European stage for the first time through the UEFA Cup, finishing fourth in the league. It still remains as the club’s highest finish in the top flight of the division. Such is Zizou’s influence.
He was bestowed the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award in 1994.
In Bordeaux, he played in some midlfield combinations with Bixente Lizarazu and Christophe Duggary which would then shape up to be the cornerstone of the midfield of the French national team.
In 1994, he made his debut for France against Czech Republic. The Czechs were leading 2-0 when national manager Aimes Jacquet thought of giving Zidane his debut on his homeground. Zidane repayed the faith of his manager by scoring two goals and avoiding an embarassing defeat for France. A legend was emerging.
In the beginning of the 1996 season, Zidane was offered to Newcastle United but the club rejected the player as it thought he was not good enough to play in the English Division. Ironically, he won the Ligue 1 Player of the Year award in the same year. An exquisite way to silence your critics.
Zidane’s influence continued to Italy where he won the 1996-97 and 1997-98 Serie A titles and also the 1996 Intercontinental Cup with Juventus.
As a result, he was awarded the Seria A Foreign Player of the Year award in 1997 and 2001.
He was also awarded with the UEFA Club Midfielder award in 1998 and the World Soccer Player award in the same year.
He is a two-time French Player of the Year award winner (1998, 2002). Also, he won the Ballon D’or in 1998.
Edgar Davids, his Juventus teammate, said “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.”
In the 1998 World Cup, Zidane gave a stellar performance, scoring two goals against Brazil and winning the trophy for the Les Bleues on home turf. He earned himself some blemishes in this journey, one of them being the first French player to receive a red card in a World Cup after he stamped Fuad Anwar in his teams’s second match againt Saudi Arabia.
After the Word Cup, a huge image of Zidane was projected on the Arc de Triomphe with the words “Merci Zizou” written on it.
He won the Fifa World Player of the Year award thrice (1998,2002,2003).
In 2000, he won the Euro Cup with France, making the team the first to hold both the World Cup and the Euro Championship since West Germany in 1974. He was named as the UEFA Euro Player of the Tournament.
For his sublime skills, he was named as the Serie A Player of the Year in 2001, beating the likes of his teammates Alessandro Del Piero and Gianluigi Buffon.
He was awarded with La Liga’s Best Foreign Player award in 2002. In the same year, he was also awarded with the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award and was named in the FIFA World Cup Dream Team.
Ironically, he couldn’t score a single goal leading to France’s elimination in the group stages of the 2002 World Cup – the worst performance by the defending champion in the competition’s history.
Zidane joined the Galacticos of Real Madrid in 2001 for a world record transfer fee of 47 million pounds at that time. The previous record was held by his teammate, Luis Figo, with a transfer fee of 36 million pounds.
His match-winning goal against Bayern in the 2002 Champions League final has been touted as one of the best in the competition’s history.
Winning the 2002-03 season with Real Madrid, he was named the Fifa Player of the Year for the third time.
In 2004, he became the second highest goalscorer and assists provider in the La Liga. For his enthralling performances in this season, he was voted by fans as the best European footballer of the year in the past 50 years in UEFA’s fiftieth anniversary Golden Jubilee poll.
Zidane announced his retirement after the 2005-2006 season. On the bidding of then France manager, Raymond Domenech, he came out of retirement for the 2006 World Cup and helped France win their qualifying group from an embarassing fourth place. He earned his hundredth cap for France against Mexico in a friendly. This would also be his last match at the Stade de France. All was going well for the legend and , subsequently, for the team. But a moment of provocation from Italian centre back, Marco Materazzi, proved too much for Zidane and he ended up giving the infamous headbutt to the Italian resulting in a red card for the French player. France lost the match on penalties. The dream ending for Zidane took a heavy nosedive.
He was bestowed upon the honour of being the Sports Illustrated Player of the Decade in 2009 and was awarded with the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.
The Complex voted him as one of the “Top 10 Muslim athletes of all-time” although he considered himself as a “non-practicing Muslim” in 2012.
He was named as one of the World Soccer 100 Greatest Players of the 20th Century in 1999 and was also a part of the World Soccer Greatest XI Of All Time in 2013.