Zinedine Yazid Zidane, popularly known as “Zizou”, is a former professional French footballer who played as an attacking midfielder in the juniors teams of France and eventually in the core national team for a very long period. He also played for clubs like Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus, and Real Madrid, and brought laurels for each of them.
Zinedine Zidane was born on 23 June 1972, in Marseille, France, to Smaïl and Malika. He has four older siblings. His family, which is of Algerian Kabyle Berber descent, resided in the northern Marseille suburb of La Castellane.
In 1989, Zizou earned his first professional contract with Cannes and made his debut in the French first division game against Nantes. In his first full season with Cannes, the club secured its first-ever European football berth by qualifying for the UEFA Cup after finishing fourth in the league. He made 61 appearances in his first three seasons for the club and scored six goals.
In 1992, Zidane became a part of Bordeaux and it was there that he began to attain international recognition. Some of his ecstatic moments of him in the club were, winning the 1995 Intertoto Cup after beating Karlsruhe and finishing runner-up against Bayern Munich in the 1995-96 UEFA Cup. He played in 139 games for Bordeaux and scored 28 goals.
In 1996, Zidane was signed by the then-current champion of UEFA, Juventus, for a five-year contract. Zidane's impact in the Italian club was immediate, as he was often instrumental in the 1996 Serie A title and Intercontinental Cup 1996. He scored seven times in the 32 matches and the club retained its title of Serie A even in the following season. He played in 151 games and scored 24 goals for the club in his tenure. He was twice named Serie A Foreign Footballer of the Year.
In 2001, Zidane joined Real Madrid for a world record fee of 150 billion Italian lire for a four-year contract. In his very first season, Zidane scored the very famous match-winning volley hit against Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 UEFA Champions League final. The voyage of glory went on in the next season as Madrid won the La-Liga 2003.
In 2004, he was declared the best European footballer in the history of UEFA. In 2006, he scored his maiden hat-trick, against Sevilla, and ended the season as the second highest goal scorer, only after Ronaldo.
He started playing football at the age of four. He got his first player’s license at the age of ten. He made his professional debut at the age of 17 and won the ‘World Cup’ at the age of 26. He went on to win the ‘European Championship’ when he was 28.
He joined the ‘Real Madrid’ club in 2001 for a then-world record fee of 150 billion Italian lire. It was the highest ever amount paid to a footballer for being transferred.
He made a comeback after announcing his retirement to lead France in the 2006 ‘FIFA World Cup.’ It was a fairytale finish to a fantastic career as France reached the finals under his meticulous guidance. However, his team could not win the ‘World Cup’ due to his absence in the penalty shootout.
He scored his first ‘World Cup’ goal at the finals of the 1998 ‘FIFA World Cup’ against Brazil. In the match, he scored two identical goals, both headers, leading France to victory. His outstanding performance in the match gave him national hero status.
Zidane was honored with the ‘FIFA World Player of the Year’ award thrice in 1998, 2000, and 2003. He has also won ‘FIFA World Cup Final Man of the Match’ awards, ‘FIFA 100 Greatest Living Footballers’ award, and ‘FIFA World Cup Golden Ball.’ He was part of the ‘FIFA World Cup All-Star Team’ and ‘FIFA World Cup Dream Team.’
Zidane won the ‘Ballon d'Or’ in 1998. He won the ‘European Player of the Year’ award four times in 1998, 2001, 2002, and 2003.
He is among the elite group of greats who have won both ‘FIFA World Player of the Year’ award and ‘Ballon d'Or’ award.
Zidane won the ‘French Player of the Year’ award twice in 1998 and 2002.