Arguably the greatest French player of all time, Zinedine Zidane battled through poverty and humble beginnings to rise to the pinnacle of his sport, cementing his legendary status in World football with some breathtaking moments of sheer genius and sometimes madness.
The Son of Algerian immigrants Smaïl and Malika who moved to Paris from the northern region of Algeria in 1953 just before the Algerian war broke out, Zidane was born on the 23rd of June 1972 and raised in La Castellane, a suburb of Marseille. His first exposure to football was at the age of five when he would play with kids at the Place Tartane, a public square in La Castellane.
Zidane obtained his first player license at the age of ten after he joined the junior team of US Saint-Henri. After a year and a half, he moved to another amateur team SO Septèmes-les-Vallons where he played until he turned 14. While on their books, he was selected to join a training camp (Regional Centre for Sports and Physical Education) run by the French Federation. It was at this camp that Zidane was identified for recruitment by AS Cannes scout and former player Jean Varraud.
Zidane turned up at AS Cannes initially for a six-week trial but ended up representing the club for four years. He made his debut for Cannes on 18th of May 1989 against Nantes. After scoring his first goal for the club on 10th February 1991, The Cannes President Alain Peretti gave Zidane a car (a promise he made to him earlier.)
Throughout his career, Zidane will take exception to any attempt at ridiculing his poor background or his Arab roots, at Cannes, he was disciplined for punching an opponent who mocked his ghetto upbringing, an antecedent that would follow him throughout his career.
In his debut season at AS Cannes, Zidane helped the team finish fourth in the French Divison 1, thereby earning qualification to play in Europe for the first time in the club’s history.
Zinedine Zidane was sold to Girondins Bordeaux in 1992. During his four year spell at Bordeaux, he helped the club win the 1995 Intertoto Cup after beating Karlsruhe. In the 1995/1996 season, the club finished runner-up to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup.
With his stock rapidly rising, it was only normal that European heavyweights were circling for his services. In 1996, after winning Ligue 1 Player of the Year, Zidane moved to UEFA Champions League winners Juventus.
Zidane was an instant hit in Italy, helping his team to the 1996–97 Serie A title and the 1996 Intercontinental Cup. In the Champions League, Juventus made three consecutive UEFA Champions League Final appearances.
In 1998, France hosted the World Cup, the perfect stage for Zidane to strut his stuff. After getting sent off for a stamp on a Saudi player in the second match of the group stage, Zidane returned to the team, playing an important role in France’s march to the final against tournament favorites Brazil. Zidane scored two goals in the final, helping France to a 3–0 victory. In 1998, he was named FIFA World Player of the Year, also winning the Ballon d’Or.
In 2000, Zinedine Zidane and the golden generation of French football won the European Championship and he was named the player of the tournament.
Back in club football, Zidane was signed by Spanish giants Real Madrid, for a world-record transfer fee of $66 million. His signing was in keeping with the Clubs Galactico philosophy which aimed at assembling the very elite crop of footballers across the globe in one team. This era had alongside Zidane, David Beckham, Raul, Portuguese icon Luis Figo, Brazilian full-back Roberto Carlos and the legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo. Madrid won the League title and the coveted UEFA Champions League title in his first year.
Zidane came out of retirement to lead France to the 2006 World Cup, after a slow start, the French powered into the final. In the last game of his glittering career, on the biggest stage of all, Zizou was sent off for head-butting Italian defender Marco Materazzi. Without its talismanic leader, the French crumbled to defeat at the hands of the Italians.
It is difficult to find star players go into football management and maintain their pedigree in the often volatile corridors of modern coaching. Upon retirement, Zidane is still rewriting the history books. After coming through the Real Madrid Coaching ranks, Zidane was appointed Head Coach of Real Madrid on the 4th of January 2016 after the sacking of Rafa Benitez.
He has gone on to become the first manager to win the Champions League twice in a row. As Real Madrid Head Coach, he has won the La Liga: 2016–17, Supercopa de España in 2017, UEFA Champions League: 2016 and 2017, the UEFA Super Cup in 2016 and 2017. He also won the FIFA Club World Cup in 2016 and 2017.
Zinedine Zidane’s Family, Son
Zinedine Zidane was born as the youngest of five siblings. His Dad Smaïl was a night-watch at a local departmental store while his mum Malika was a housewife. He is married to Véronique Fernández whom he met as a 17-year-old while he was playing for AS Cannes back in France. The couple wedded in 1994.
The marriage is blessed with four sons; Enzo, Luca, Theo, and Elyaz. All the Zidane boys are following in the footsteps of their illustrious father. Enzo is a midfielder for Lausanne Sport, Luca – Real Madrid’s third choice goalkeeper while Theo and Elyaz (both midfielders) are still playing for the Real Madrid academy.
Salary, Net Worth
The Real Madrid boss has his current salary put at an approximate $9.5 million. After a lucrative career as a footballer, his net worth stands at $70 million.
Zinedine Zidane stands at an impressive 1.85 meters (6 Feet 1 inch) and has a weight of 80 kg.