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Top 10 Football Players of All Time | Greatest Football Players in History

Editor's Pick
1.97M   //    29 Sep 2017, 17:08 IST

#3 Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane France
Zidane gave France their greatest triumph in 1998

Many pundits and fans alike might consider Messi and Ronaldo to be greater players than Zidane, but if you carefully see the French legend's career, you will see that Zidane has almost always been at his very best in the biggest and most crucial matches, be it World Cup finals, Champions League finals or important knock out matches.

Winner of the Ballon d'Or in 1998, Zidane had an extremely successful career at both Juventus and Real Madrid. However, Zidane first truly came into the public conscience as a truly world class player with his performance against Brazil in the 1998 World Cup final.

Scoring a brace of headed goals in the final, Zidane gave France their much awaited maiden World Cup triumph against much faniced Brazil thus making him an overnight hero and icon. He followed it up with a stunning performance in Euro 2000 where France won again and he was crowned the player of the tournament.

His idol, Platini was full of praise for the young French prodigy:

"Technically, I think he is the king of what's fundamental in the game — control and passing. I don't think anyone can match him when it comes to controlling or receiving the ball."

Zidane goal
Zidane scored a stunning winner in the 2002 Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen

After making a then World record transfer to Real Madrid, Zidane soon showed his class and became one of the best players of the star-studded Real Madrid lineup. His most famous moment in a white shirt probably came in the 2001/02 Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen.

With the scores tied at 0-0, Zidane showed unbelievable technique and skill to volley a left footed shot from outside the box. One of the most beautiful goals in the history of the Champions League, Zidane showed that he could always be counted upon to deliver in the most crucial stages.

Till he retired from the sport in 2006, Zidane remained among the best players in the world. Barring his infamous headbutt in the 2006 World Cup final, the legendary Frenchman was truly a player who revelled on the big stage.


For his incredible longevity and his amazing performances in the 1998 World Cup final, 2000 European Championship and 2002 Champions League final, Zidane is ranked as the third greatest football player of all time.

Zidane's class and grace on the field were captured best by famous Guardian journalist Sid Lowe. Writing about Zidane, he said:

"Zidane was football's answer to the Bolshoi Ballet. Zidane was elegance above all else."