Biography:Zinedine Zidane

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Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane by Tasnim 03.jpg
Zidane in 2017
Personal information
Full name Zinedine Zidane[1]
Date of birth (1972-06-23) 23 June 1972 (age 52)[2]
Place of birth Marseille, France
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)[3]
Playing position(s) Attacking midfielder
Youth career
1981–1983 US Saint-Henri
1983–1986 SO Septèmes-les-Vallons
1986–1989 Cannes
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1989–1992 Cannes 61 (6)
1992–1996 Bordeaux 139 (28)
1996–2001 Juventus 151 (24)
2001–2006 Real Madrid 155 (37)
Total 506 (95)
National team
1988–1989 France U17 4 (1)
1989–1990 France U18 6 (0)
1990–1994 France U21 20 (3)
1994–2006 France 108 (31)
Teams managed
2014–2016 Real Madrid Castilla
2016–2018 Real Madrid
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Zinedine Zidane O.L.H., A.O.M.N. (French pronunciation: [zinedin zidan]; born 23 June 1972), nicknamed "Zizou", is a French professional football coach and former player. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time,[4][5][6] Zidane was an elite playmaker, renowned for his elegance, vision, ball control and technique, and played as an attacking midfielder for Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus and Real Madrid.[7][8] At club level, Zidane won two Serie A league titles with Juventus, which garnered him a move to Real Madrid for a world record fee of €77.5 million in 2001, which remained unmatched for the next 8 years. In Spain, Zidane won the La Liga title and the UEFA Champions League, with his left-foot volleyed winner in the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final considered to be one of the greatest goals in the competition's history.[9] Zidane also won an Intercontinental Cup and a UEFA Super Cup with both teams.

Capped 108 times by France, Zidane won the 1998 FIFA World Cup, scoring twice in the final and being named to the All-Star Team, while also winning UEFA Euro 2000, being named Player of the Tournament. The World Cup triumph made him a national hero in France, and he received the Legion of Honour in 1998. He also received the Golden Ball for player of the tournament at the 2006 World Cup, despite his infamous sending off in the final against Italy for headbutting Marco Materazzi in the chest. He retired as the fourth-most capped player in France history.

Zidane received many individual accolades as a player, including being named the FIFA World Player of the Year three times, in 1998, 2000 and 2003, and also winning the 1998 Ballon d'Or. He was Ligue 1 Player of the Year in 1996, Serie A Footballer of the Year in 2001, and La Liga Best Foreign Player in 2002. In 2004, he was named in the FIFA 100, a list of the world's greatest living players compiled by Pelé, and in the same year was named the best European footballer of the past 50 years in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll.[10] Zidane is one of eight players to have won the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League and the Ballon d'Or.[11] He was the ambassador for Qatar's successful bid to stage the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the first Arab country to host the tournament.[12]

After retiring as a player, Zidane transitioned into coaching, becoming assistant coach at Real Madrid under Carlo Ancelotti for the 2013–14 season. After a successful year in which the club won the UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey, Zidane became the coach of Real Madrid's B team, Real Madrid Castilla.[13] He remained in the position for two years before taking the helm of the first team in January 2016.[14] In his first two seasons as manager, Zidane won the UEFA Champions League twice, a La Liga title, a Supercopa de España, and both the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup twice.[15] His success saw him named Best FIFA Men's Coach in 2017.[16] In 2018, Zidane led Real Madrid to another UEFA Champions League, his third in a row, becoming the only coach in the history of football to win three consecutive UEFA Champions League titles.[17][18] A few days after the victory, he resigned as Real Madrid coach.[19][20]

Early life and career

La Castellane in the northwestern edge of Marseille where Zidane was born in 1972
La Corniche, seaside roadway along the coast of Marseille, with a mural of Zidane on the wall

Zinedine Zidane was born on 23 June 1972 in La Castellane, Marseille, in Southern France. Zidane is of Algerian Kabyle descent.[21][22] His parents, Smaïl and Malika, emigrated to Paris from the village of Aguemoune in the Berber-speaking region of Kabylie in northern Algeria in 1953 before the start of the Algerian War. The family, which had settled in the city's tough northern districts of Barbès and Saint-Denis, found little work in the region, and in the mid-1960s moved to the northern Marseille suburb of La Castellane in the 16th arrondissement of Marseille.

I have an affinity with the Arabic world. I have it in my blood, via my parents. I’m very proud of being French, but also very proud of having these roots and this diversity.
—Zidane interview with Esquire magazine.[23]

In 1972, Zidane was born in Marseille as the youngest of five siblings. His father worked as a warehouseman and nightwatchman at a department store, often on the night shift, while his mother was a housewife.[21] The family lived a reasonably comfortable life by the standards of the neighbourhood, which was notorious throughout Marseille for its high crime and unemployment rates.[22][24] Zidane credits his strict upbringing and his father as the "guiding light" in his career.[23]

It was in Castellane where Zidane had his earliest introduction in football, joining in at the age of five in football games that the neighbourhood's children played on the Place Tartane, an 80-by-12-yard plaza that served as the main square of the housing complex.[25] In July 2011, Zidane named former Marseille players Blaž Slišković, Enzo Francescoli and Jean-Pierre Papin as his idols while growing up.[26][27] At the age of ten, Zidane got his first player's licence after joining the junior team of a local club from Castellane by the name of US Saint-Henri.[28] After spending a year and a half at US Saint-Henri, Zidane joined SO Septèmes-les-Vallons when the Septèmes coach Robert Centenero convinced the club's Director to get Zidane.[28] Zidane stayed with Septèmes until the age of 14, at which time he was selected to attend a three-day training camp at the CREPS (Regional Centre for Sports and Physical Education) in Aix-en-Provence, one of several such footballing institutes run by the French Football Federation. It was here that Zidane was spotted by AS Cannes scout and former player Jean Varraud, who recommended him to the training centre director of the club.[7] As a 14 year old watching the 1986 World Cup, the performance of Diego Maradona left an indelible mark on him, with Zidane stating Maradona “was on another level”.[29]

Club career


"He’d go past one, two, three, five, six players – it was sublime. His feet spoke with the ball"

—Jean Varraud, former player who discovered Zidane.[7]

Zidane went to AS Cannes for a six-week stay, but ended up remaining at the club for four years to play at the professional level. Having left his family to join Cannes, he was invited by Cannes Director Jean-Claude Elineau to leave the dormitory he shared with 20 other trainees and to come and stay with him and his family. Zidane later said that while living with the Elineaus he found equilibrium.[21]

It was at Cannes where Zidane's first coaches noticed that he was raw and sensitive, prone to attack spectators who insulted his race or family.[30] His first coach, Jean Varraud, encouraged him to channel his anger and focus on his own game. Zidane spent his first weeks at Cannes mainly on cleaning duty as a punishment for punching an opponent who mocked his ghetto origins.[30] The occasional violence that he would display throughout his career was shaped by an internal conflict of being an Algerian-Frenchman suspended between cultures, and surviving the tough streets of La Castellane where he grew up.[30]

Zidane made his professional debut with Cannes on 18 May 1989 in a French Division 1 match against Nantes.[31] He scored his first goal for the club on 10 February 1991[32] also against Nantes in a 2–1 win. After the match during a party for all the Cannes players, Zidane was given a car by Cannes Chairman Alain Pedretti, who had promised him one the day he scored his first goal for the club.[33] On the pitch, Zidane displayed extraordinary technique on the ball, offering glimpses of the talent that would take him to the top of the world game.[7] 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. This remains the club's highest finish in the top flight since getting relegated for the first time from the first division in the 1948–49 season.[34]


Zidane was transferred to Girondins de Bordeaux in the 1992–93 season, winning the 1995 Intertoto Cup after beating Karlsruhe,[35][36] and finishing runner-up against Bayern Munich in the 1995–96 UEFA Cup,[36][37][38] in four years with the club. He played a set of midfield combinations with Bixente Lizarazu and Christophe Dugarry, which would become the trademark of both Bordeaux and the 1998 French national team. In 1995, Blackburn Rovers manager Kenny Dalglish had expressed interest in signing both Zidane and Dugarry, to which club owner Jack Walker reportedly replied, "Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?"[39] Also towards the beginning of the 1996 season, according to football agent Barry Silkman, Zidane was offered to Newcastle United for £1.2 million, but the club turned down the offer after watching him, claiming that he was not good enough for the English First Division.[40] In 1996, Zidane received the award for Ligue 1 Player of the Year.[41]


"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"

—Juventus teammate Edgar Davids on Zidane’s ability.[42]

After a series of stand out performances for both Bordeaux and France, Zidane had offers to join Europe's top clubs in the spring of 1996, deciding on a move to UEFA Champions League winners Juventus during the close season.[43] Zidane's impact in Italy was immediate, winning the 1996–97 Serie A title and the 1996 Intercontinental Cup.[44] He was named Serie A Foreign Footballer of the Year in his first season.[45] Zidane’s growing status in the sport saw him chosen in a European XI to face a World XI – featuring a forward line of Ronaldo and Gabriel Batistuta – in December 1997.[46]

As the playmaker at Juve, Zidane played just behind forward Alessandro Del Piero, with Del Piero recalling, “Zidane had an extraordinary talent, which contributed to his sole interest in helping the team. He was not a selfish player. He had a unique ability to be a great and to be a team player. I was lucky to play with him.“[47] He lost in the 1997 UEFA Champions League Final 3–1 to Borussia Dortmund when he was unable to make an impression against the close marking of Paul Lambert.[48]

The following season, Zidane scored seven goals in 32 matches in the league to help Juventus win the 1997–98 Serie A and thus retain the Scudetto. In Europe, Juventus made their third consecutive UEFA Champions League Final appearance, but lost the game 1–0 to Real Madrid. In 1998, Zidane was named FIFA World Player of the Year, and won the Ballon d'Or. Juventus finished second in the 2000–01 Serie A, but were eliminated in the group stage of the Champions League, after Zidane was banned for head-butting Hamburger SV player Jochen Kientz.[49] In 2001, Zidane was named Serie A Foreign Footballer of the Year for the second time.[45]

Real Madrid

Zidane with teammate David Beckham in 2003

In 2001, Zidane joined Real Madrid for a world record fee of 150 billion Italian lire,[50][51] (about €77.5 million by fixed exchange rate; a reported 12.8 billion pesetas[52]) in installments,[53] and signed a four-year contract. The latest addition to the Galácticos era of global stars signed by Real Madrid every year, in his first season at the club Zidane scored a famous match-winning goal, a volley hit with his weaker foot, in Madrid's 2–1 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final, completing his personal quadruple.[54] The goal has been cited as one of the greatest in Champions League history.[55][56][57] The magnitude of the strike saw Zidane produce one of his most emotional goal celebrations as he ran towards the touchline with mouth wide open, screaming in delight.[58]

"He dominates the ball, he is a walking spectacle and he plays as if he had silk gloves on each foot. He makes it worthwhile going to the stadium — he's one of the best I have ever seen."

—Alfredo Di Stéfano on Zidane after he was named World Player of the Year in 2003.[6]

The next season, Zidane helped Real Madrid to win the 2002–03 La Liga, starring alongside Luís Figo in midfield, and was named the FIFA World Player of the Year for the third time.[59] In 2004, fans voted him as the best European footballer of the previous 50 years in UEFA's fiftieth-anniversary Golden Jubilee Poll.[10]

While Zidane's final season of club football ended without a trophy, he enjoyed success on a personal note by scoring his first hat-trick, against Sevilla, in a 4–2 win in January 2006.[60] He ended the season for Real Madrid as their second highest goalscorer and assists provider behind teammates Ronaldo and David Beckham respectively, with nine goals and ten assists in 28 games.[61] On 7 May 2006, Zidane, who had announced his plans to retire after the 2006 World Cup,[62] played his farewell match and scored in a 3–3 draw with Villarreal. The squad wore commemorative shirts with ZIDANE 2001–2006 below the club logo. The 80,000 fans inside the Santiago Bernabéu held up a banner reading, "Thanks for the magic."[7]

In 2012, Zidane featured for Madrid in an All Stars Match against Manchester United which resulted in a 3–2 win for Real. In April 2013, he was named by Marca as a member of the "Best foreign eleven in Real Madrid's history."[63]

International career

Both France and Algeria consider Zidane a citizen. It was rumoured that coach Abdelhamid Kermali denied Zidane a position for the Algerian squad because he felt the young midfielder was not fast enough.[64] However, Zidane dismissed the rumour in a 2005 interview, saying that he would have been ineligible to play for Algeria because he had already played for France.[65]

Zidane was a member of the French under-21 squad that won a bronze medal at the 1993 Mediterranean Games in Languedoc-Roussillon.[66] He earned his first cap with France as a substitute in a friendly against the Czech Republic on 17 August 1994, which ended in a 2–2 draw after Zidane scored twice to help France erase a 2–0 deficit. After Eric Cantona was handed a year-long suspension in January 1995 for assaulting a fan, Zidane took over the playmaker position.[67]

Euro 1996

Despite not being at his best during the tournament, France reached the last four. Zidane was not yet fully established in the French team and his level was quite average during the whole event, but he managed to score in the penalty shootout in both the quarter-final and semi-final. France was eliminated in the Euro 96 semi-finals in a penalty shootout against the Czech Republic.[68]

1998 World Cup

Following France’s World Cup win, an image of Zidane was projected on the Arc de Triomphe (pictured) along with the words "Merci Zizou".[69]

The 1998 FIFA World Cup was the first World Cup that Zidane participated in. It was held in his home country France. The French team won all three games in the group stage but Zidane was sent off in the second match against Saudi Arabia for a stamp on Fuad Anwar, becoming the first French player to receive a red card in a World Cup Finals match. Without their playmaker France proceeded to win 1–0 in the round of sixteen game against Paraguay and, on his return to the side, defeated Italy 4–3 on penalties after a goalless draw in the quarter-finals. France then defeated Croatia 2–1 in the semi-final. Zidane played a major role in the team's accomplishment, though he had yet to score a goal at the World Cup.

Zidane and France went on to play against defending champions and favourites Brazil at the Stade de France in the 1998 FIFA World Cup Final. France dominated Brazil from the kick-off, with Zidane scoring two similar goals, both headers from corner kicks taken by Emmanuel Petit and Youri Djorkaeff. Courtesy of Zidane's two goals, France went into the half-time break 2–0 up with one hand on the World Cup trophy.[7] Petit added a third goal deep in stoppage time to seal the 3–0 win and France's first ever World Cup. Named man of the match, Zidane became an instant national hero and would receive the Légion d'honneur later that year.[69] More than one million people lined the Champs-Élysées in Paris, with celebrations centred around the Arc de Triomphe.[70][71]

Euro 2000

Zidane’s France jersey from Euro 2000

Two years later France won Euro 2000, becoming the first team to hold both the World Cup and the European Championship since West Germany in 1974. Zidane finished with two goals, a bending free kick against Spain in the quarter-final and the golden goal in the semi-final against Portugal with a penalty.[72][73] UEFA named Zidane Player of the Tournament.[74]

Zidane himself believes he was at his peak during the tournament, while the UEFA website states, “In Belgium and the Netherlands, Zidane dominated a major championship in a way no individual had managed since Diego Maradona in 1986. From the opening game against Denmark to the final against Italy, 'Zizou' shone brightly, casting a spell on his opponents with clever flicks, mesmerising stepovers, slaloming runs and masterful vision.”[75]

2002 World Cup

As reigning world and European champions, France entered the 2002 World Cup in Japan/Korea as favourites but a thigh injury sustained in a warm up match before the tournament prevented Zidane from playing in France's first two matches and without their talisman, the French team failed to score in either match. He was rushed back prematurely for the third game despite not being fully fit, but could not prevent France from being ignominiously eliminated in the group stage without scoring a single goal; the worst performance by a defending champion in the history of the competition.[76]

Euro 2004

At Euro 2004, France topped their group with wins over England and Switzerland, before being knocked out in the quarter finals by eventual champions Greece in a surprise 1–0 loss.[77] In the opening match against England, Zidane scored a free kick and penalty in stoppage time to turn impending defeat into a 2–1 victory.[78][79] After France's elimination, Zidane announced his retirement from international football.[80]

2006 World Cup

Zidane during the 2006 World Cup Final

With the mass retirement of veteran key players such as Bixente Lizarazu, Marcel Desailly, Claude Makélélé and Lilian Thuram, France struggled to qualify for the 2006 World Cup. At the urging of coach Raymond Domenech, Zidane came out of retirement and was immediately reinstated as team captain.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag In the quarter-final France held Brazil to just one shot on goal in the rematch of the 1998 final. Zidane assisted Thierry Henry's deciding goal and was named Man of the Match by FIFA.[81][82] France faced Portugal in the semi final and, as in Brussels six years earlier, Zidane's penalty kick decided the contest and sent France to another major final.[83][84]

Before the 2006 World Cup final in Berlin, Zidane was awarded the Golden Ball as the player of the tournament.[85] Having already announced he was to retire after the expiration of his Real Madrid contract at the end of the 2005–06 season, the world of football already knew Zidane's second World Cup final was to be the last match of his career. Seven minutes into the match Zidane put France ahead with a Panenka-style penalty kick which struck the crossbar and bounced just over the goal line[86] to become only the fourth player in World Cup history to score in two different finals, along with Pelé, Paul Breitner, and Vavá, in addition to being tied for first place with Vavá, Pelé and Geoff Hurst with three World Cup final goals apiece. He almost scored a second goal during the first period of extra time but his header was saved by Italy's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. Zidane was then sent off in the 110th minute of the game after headbutting Marco Materazzi in the chest,[87] so he did not participate in the penalty shootout which Italy won 5–3.[88] Zidane's actions made headlines all over the world, while in France Le Figaro called his head-butt "odious," and the front page of L'Equipe asked, "What should we tell our children, for whom you have become an example for ever? ... How could that happen to a man like you?"[84]

"The match you played last night was full of talent and professionalism. I know that you are sad and disappointed but what I want to tell you is that the whole country is extremely proud of you. You have honoured the country with your exceptional qualities and your fantastic fighting spirit, which was your strength in difficult times, but also in winning times."

—President of France, Jacques Chirac, pays tribute to Zidane in Paris after the 2006 World Cup.[84]

Upon his return to France, the Place de la Concorde in Paris was filled with thousands of fans waving flags and rhythmically chanting "Zizou! Zizou!," and tributes were led by the French president Jacques Chirac.[84] Chirac's words reflected the feeling of the French public, with polls done in the immediate wake of the incident showing support for Zidane: 61% of French people said they had already forgiven him for his actions while 52% said they understood them.[84] According to French journalist Philippe Auclair, Zidane's performances in the knock-out rounds were "ranked among his finest in a blue shirt."[84] As the player of the tournament, Zidane had given the team hope, with the French daily newspaper Libération stating, "For a month, France was dreaming with Zidane."[84] Zidane remained an icon to the French public, and one French writer stated, "It's good for us to see our national hero is fallible."[84] It was later revealed through interviews that Marco Materazzi had insulted Zidane's sister, which led to Zidane's heightened anger and reaction.[89] In 2010, Zidane said that he would "rather die than apologize" to Materazzi for the headbutt in the final,[90] but also admitted that he "could never have lived with himself" had he been allowed to remain on the pitch and help France win the match.[91] He later said, "If you look at the fourteen red cards I had in my career, twelve of them were a result of provocation. This isn't justification, this isn’t an excuse, but my passion, temper and blood made me react."[92]

Following his red card in the final, Zidane retired from professional football and confirmed that he would not go back on his decision.[93] He was sentenced by FIFA to a three match suspension for the red card.[94] He agreed to complete three days of community service with children in one of FIFA's humanitarian projects.[95] Zidane ended up tying with Brazil's Cafu for the record for most cards given in World Cup matches, with six.[96]


Zidane playing a backheel during a game of futsal in 2008

Since his retirement, Zidane has regularly played for the Real Madrid Veterans team. He has also made several futsal appearances. In 2015 he played in a futsal tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, during which an opposition player received a yellow card to much amusement for taking an in-match selfie with Zidane.[97] In an interview in June 2008, Zidane stated that he wanted to return to football, but that he had no immediate plans to do so.[98]

On 1 June 2009, Zidane was announced as the advisor to the president after Florentino Pérez was named president of Real Madrid for the second time.[99] He, along with general director Jorge Valdano and sporting director Miguel Pardeza, were to be the key decisionmakers on the sporting side of the club.[99] After France's dismal campaign in the 2010 World Cup, Zidane said that he did not plan to move into coaching any time soon.[100]

Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid committee announced in September 2010 that Zidane had been appointed as an ambassador for Qatar's attempt to host the 2022 World Cup.[101] After FIFA announced on 2 December 2010 that Qatar had won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup,[102] Zidane stated that he was "very pleased" with the outcome.[103] Zidane spoke of the message he was trying to convey in the campaign: "I was saying that football belonged to the whole world. I’m proud to have made my contribution to a new country getting the World Cup. Qatar and the entire Middle East as a whole deserves this event and that makes me happy. It's a victory for the Arab world."[12] Zidane has supported two Olympic bids for Paris, including the 2012 Summer Olympics which was narrowly won by London and later Paris' successful bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics. Paris will also be hosting the 2024 Summer Paralympics.[104]

Charity activities

Zidane at the Danone Nations Cup, 2008. A football tournament involving 2.5 million children from over 11,000 clubs from around the globe, Zidane is its ambassador.

On 24 February 2007, before a crowd of 10,000 fans at a match in northern Thailand for the Keuydaroon children's AIDS charity, Zidane scored the first goal and set up the second for a Malaysian teammate as the match ended 2–2. The event raised ฿260,000 ($7,750). This money paid for the building of two schools and 16 three-bedroom houses.[105]

On 19 November 2008, Zidane took part in the fifth annual Match Against Poverty in Málaga, Spain, which also ended in a 2–2 draw; he went scoreless but set up his team's second goal. He and Ronaldo, who collaborated in conceiving the yearly event to benefit the United Nations Development Programme, regularly captain their respective teams consisting of active footballers, other professional athletes and celebrities.[106] Zidane, a UN Goodwill Ambassador since 2001, stated before the game that "everyone can do something to make the world a better place."[107]

Zidane in the Match Against Poverty in Bern, March 2014

In June and July 2009, Zidane toured across Canada with stops in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver . Although billed as Zidane and "Friends", the likes of which included Fabien Barthez and Samuel Eto'o, the exhibition matches featured local players. Some proceeds were given to UNICEF.[108]

On 6 June 2010, Zidane took part in the biennial charity event Soccer Aid. He played for the Rest of the World team, managed by former Liverpool and Celtic forward Kenny Dalglish against England alongside former Real Madrid teammate Luís Figo and Celtic legend Henrik Larsson. He played against former players such as Teddy Sheringham and Alan Shearer, as well as celebrities such as Hollywood actors Woody Harrelson, Mike Myers, Michael Sheen, chef Gordon Ramsay, actor Damian Lewis and singer Robbie Williams.[109] The match took place at Old Trafford, Manchester and was won by the Rest of the World for the first time, the winning penalty scored by Harrelson after a 2–2 draw.[109]

On 2 June 2013, Zidane took part in a charity match played at Old Trafford as part of the Manchester United Legends vs. Real Madrid Legends reverse fixture. The first leg took place in Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. Part of a team that included the likes of Figo, Fernando Redondo and Manolo Sanchís, the fixture raised funds for the Manchester United Foundation.[110] The 12th Match against Poverty took place in Saint-Etienne, France on Monday 20 April 2015, where Ronaldo and Zidane teamed up with other football stars against past and present players of French Ligue 1 club AS Saint-Étienne. According to UNDP, "two thirds of all proceeds will go towards helping the hardest-hit countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone build back better from the Ebola epidemic."[111] In June 2018, Zidane reunited with his France 1998 World Cup winning teammates to play a charity game against an All-Star side which included Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. In a 3–2 win for France, Thierry Henry played a no-look one-two pass with Zidane before scoring, with Zidane then curling in a 25-yard free kick.[112]

Managerial career

Zidane in 2013. He was the Real Madrid assistant coach for the 2013–14 season.

In November 2010, Zidane was appointed as a special adviser to Real Madrid's first team in response to an appeal made by then-Real Madrid coach José Mourinho for the former Real midfielder to work more closely with the team. In his new role, Zidane was expected to participate in Champions League events and functions and was also to travel with the first team on a regular basis and participate in pre-match gatherings, training sessions and meetings with the head coach.[113] In July 2011, it was announced that he would become Real Madrid's new sporting director.[114] In 2013, Zidane was appointed assistant coach to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid.[115]

Real Madrid Castilla

In June 2014, Real Madrid announced that Zidane would be the coach of Real Madrid's B team, Real Madrid Castilla.[13] On 29 August, the director of the Spanish National Football Coach Education Centre (CENAFE), Miguel Galán, reported Zidane for acting as Real Madrid Castilla's head coach without the necessary coaching badges.[116] According to Galán, "No one who has anything to do with the football world can be unaware that Zidane is acting as Real Madrid Castilla's head coach this season. It is a fait accompli that has been widely accepted, as shown by media reports, and Real Madrid do not deny it."[116] While the official match report for Castilla's opening game in the Segunda División B lists Santiago Sánchez as the Los Blancos' head coach and Zidane as his assistant, Galán states, "This hierarchy only exists on paper. The truth is the exact opposite: Zidane is acting as Real Madrid Castilla's head coach, while, with all due respect to him as a colleague, Mr Sánchez's role basically boils down to providing the badges."[116][117]

Real Madrid

Zidane (right) with Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos lifting the 2016 UEFA Champions League trophy

On 4 January 2016, Real Madrid announced the dismissal of manager Rafael Benítez and on the same day Zidane was appointed the new manager of the club on a two-and-a-half-year deal.[118] His first match as the club's new manager took place five days later, when Real Madrid beat Deportivo de La Coruña 5–0 in a La Liga match.[119] In his first El Clásico as a manager, held on 2 April at the Camp Nou, Zidane led his club to a 2–1 win over Barcelona to end Barça's 39-match unbeaten run.[120] Zidane thus became the first Real Madrid manager to win his first Clásico match since Bernd Schuster in December 2007.[121]

On 4 May, Zidane led Real Madrid to a place in the 2016 UEFA Champions League final by beating Manchester City 1–0 on aggregate.[122] In La Liga, Real Madrid finished runners up, just one point behind Barcelona. In the Champions League final on 28 May, Real Madrid defeated fellow Madrid club Atlético Madrid in a penalty shootout to grab the 11th European Cup (La Undécima) in club history. Zidane became the seventh man to win the European Cup (now UEFA Champions League) as both a player and a manager, the second man (after Miguel Muñoz) to win the trophy with Real Madrid as both a player and a manager, and the first French manager, except the French-Argentinian Helenio Herrera, to win the trophy.[123][124][125]

Zidane, with his Real Madrid players, standing to the right of Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena after Real had won their 33rd La Liga title, May 2017

In his first full-season as manager, Real Madrid recorded a club-record 16th consecutive La Liga victory by defeating Espanyol 2–0 away on 18 September 2016, overtaking their previous record of 15 set in 1960–61 and equaling the record of consecutive La Liga wins of Barcelona set in 2010–11.[126] On 18 December, Real Madrid defeated Japanese club Kashima Antlers 4–2 in the final of the 2016 FIFA Club World Cup, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick.[127]

On 12 January 2017, Madrid's draw against Sevilla FC in the second leg of the Copa del Rey round of 16 saw him with 40 consecutive matches without a loss – creating a new Spanish record, beating Luis Enrique's record of 39 matches undefeated with Barcelona.[128][129] Zidane later led Madrid to the La Liga title, their 33rd in history, by defeating Málaga 2–0.[130]

On 3 June 2017, Zidane led Real Madrid to a 4–1 win against Italian side Juventus in the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final at Cardiff to grab the club's 12th European Cup (La Duodécima). This victory meant that Madrid were the first ever team to win the Champions League back-to-back, as well as recording Zidane's first double as coach, and the club's first since 1956–57.[131] With Real's Champions League victory, Zidane became only the second manager to win the European Cup in his first two seasons in management, alongside fellow Real Madrid manager José Villalonga.[132]

He later won the 2017 UEFA Super Cup 2–1 against Manchester United on 8 August.[133] This meant Zidane was the first manager to win two UEFA Super Cups in a row since Arrigo Sacchi's Milan in 1990. Five days later, Real Madrid beat Barcelona at the Camp Nou 1–3 in the first leg of the 2017 Supercopa de España. Three days later, Real won the second leg 2–0, 5–1 on aggregate, while ending Barcelona's consecutive scoring record in El Clásico.[134] This title tied Zidane with Vicente del Bosque as the third most successful Real Madrid manager with 7 titles, one short of Luis Molowny, but still 7 away from Miguel Muñoz. This also meant, that at the time, Zidane had won as many titles in his managerial position in Real Madrid as games lost during his tenure. Zidane's success saw him named Best FIFA Men's Coach in 2017.[16] In December 2017, Zidane won his eighth trophy as manager when Real defeated Grêmio in the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.[135] On 26 May, Zidane won the Champions League for the third time in a row, beating Liverpool 3–1 in the final. He became one of three managers, alongside Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti, to win the European Cup three times, while also becoming the first manager to win the trophy in three consecutive seasons.[17]

On 31 May, five days after the Champions League Final, Zidane announced his resignation as Real Madrid manager, citing the club's "need for change" as his rationale for departing.[19][20]

Reception and legacy

"Zidane is the master. Over the past ten years, there's been no one like him, he has been the best player in the world. "


"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."

—Michel Platini.[5]

Many authoritative voices have acclaimed Zidane's skills and importance in the history of football, such as Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who called Zidane "a monster" for his performance and abilities.[137] German coach Franz Beckenbauer stated, "Zidane is one of the greatest players in history, a truly magnificent player."[137] Italy manager Marcello Lippi, who also coached Zidane, opined, "I think Zidane is the greatest talent we've known in football these last twenty years."[137] Former England manager Kevin Keegan said, "You look at Zidane and think 'I've never seen a player quite like that.' What sets Zidane apart is the way he manipulates a football, buying himself space that isn't there. Add his vision and it makes him very special."[138] At the 1998 World Cup, Italian manager Cesare Maldini said, "I would give up five players to have Zidane in my squad."[139]

In terms of ball retention he was probably the greatest player of all time, blessed with such grace and supernatural awareness that he could play a game of real-life Pac-Man and never be caught.
—Rob Smyth of The Guardian on Zidane’s ball control.[140]

Among his playing peers, Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimović commented, "Zidane was from another planet. When Zidane stepped onto the pitch, the ten other guys just got suddenly better. It is that simple."[141] David Beckham has described Zidane as "the greatest of all time",[142][143] Barcelona star Xavi has stated in a 2010 interview that Zidane was "best player in the '90s and early 2000s",[144] while Brazilian defender and former Madrid teammate Roberto Carlos has said of Zidane, "He is the best player I've seen. Supporters arrived earlier at the Bernabéu just to see him warm-up."[145] Brazilian playmaker Ronaldinho stated, "Zidane is one of the best footballers of all time, one of my idols. He had such elegance and grace, a wonderful touch and superb vision."[146] Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard regards Zidane as "the best ever", and growing up he learned from his idol by ”watching him on television and online for hours.”[147][148]

Zidane’s France home jersey from the 2006 World Cup. An elite playmaker, he wore number 10 for much of his international career.

Displaying skills with an array of moves such as his signature La Roulette pirouette, step overs and close ball control, former Brazilian international Rivaldo enjoyed watching Zidane more than any other player, stating, "His elegance of movement on the pitch and his skills are uncanny."[149] Journalist Sid Lowe wrote, “Zidane was football's answer to the Bolshoi Ballet. Zidane was elegance above all else.”[150] Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso opined, "What he could do with a football is a dream for most of us."[151] In 2005, upon Zidane's return to the French national team, his teammate Thierry Henry stated, "In France, everybody realized that God exists, and that he is back in the French international team."[152] Zidane has been lauded by sportsmen outside football; having witnessed Zidane's goal against Deportivo La Coruña in January 2002, where he dragged the ball right then left, turning the defender inside out, before scoring with a left foot finish, basketball player Magic Johnson stated, "One of the most inspiring nights of my life. Zidane is a phenomenon."[153]

Zidane has been named FIFA World Player of the Year three times, a feat achieved only by Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.[154] In 2002, ESPN described Zidane as "the greatest player in the world in the world's biggest game".[155] In a 2002 FIFA poll, Zidane was selected in the FIFA World Cup Dream Team.[156] In 2004, he was voted UEFA Best European Player of the Past 50 Years, and was named in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players.[157] In 2011, when UEFA polled players, journalists and their users to crown the best player in the UEFA Champions League of the past 20 years, Zidane topped the vote.[158] In a 2004 poll conducted by French newspaper Journal du Dimanche, Zidane was voted as "the most popular Frenchman of all time".[159] In 2014, in a poll carried out by French TV channel TF1, Zidane was voted as the best player in the history of the French league.[160] In 2016, in a study led by French newspaper Le Parisien, Zidane was named "best French player of all time".[161]

Reception as manager

Despite establishing himself as one of the most successful managers of his era and in the history of Real Madrid,[upper-alpha 1] Zidane's time at Real Madrid was considered by some to be shadowed by a partial amount of luck.[upper-alpha 2] However, Zidane's tactical philosophy, particularly his tactical flexibility, has been praised by many.[162][163][164][165] His use of in-game substitutions was particularly praised, as many of his substitutes led to victories, such as introducing Marco Asensio and Lucas Vázquez in order to provide pace and width against Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League to overturn a 1–0 deficit into a 3–1 victory. His introduction of Gareth Bale for similar reasons in the 2018 UEFA Champions League Final also reaped similar rewards. It is also noted that his team focused on attacking through the flanks,[166] while he is credited for popularizing the 4–4–2 diamond formation in contemporary football.[167]

On the other hand, some consider that Zidane's role was more focused in grinding out results and uniting the dressing room, rather than having a fixed tactic scheme.[168][169] Zidane emphasized the importance of players' physical levels and preferred to choose impactful players over a defined system.[170]

In popular culture

Zidane’s Z5 Group is a sporting complex made up of five a side football pitches sponsored by Adidas

Zidane has had endorsements with many companies, including Adidas, Lego, France Telecom, Orange, Audi, Volvic and Christian Dior. These sponsorship deals earned him €8.6 million on top of his €6.4 million Real Madrid salary in 2006, totalling €15 million ($20.4 million), which made him the sixth-highest paid footballer.[171][172] In 2004, Forbes magazine listed his earnings of $15.8 million for the previous 12 months.[173] In May 2010, Zidane appeared in a commercial for Louis Vuitton, indulging in a game of table football with Pelé and Diego Maradona.[174]

In 2005, filmmakers Philippe Parreno and Douglas Gordon filmed a documentary Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, which follows Zidane during an entire match, filmed with 17 cameras. Scottish post-rock band Mogwai provided the soundtrack. The documentary was part of the 2009 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.[175]

Screening of Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait documentary at the Albert Hall in Manchester, with rock band Mogwai, who provided the soundtrack, on stage

In November 2006, Zidane toured Bangladesh as the guest of Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus.[176] He also visited the Algerian birthplace of his parents and met with Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who gave him an official reception.[177] In 2012, Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed unveiled a bronze sculpture depicting Zidane's headbutt of Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup Final.[178]

On 5 November 2006, Zidane appeared in the American animated sitcom Family Guy, seen headbutting an old lady in the episode "Saving Private Brian" as a parody of his headbutt on Materazzi.[179] The infamous headbutt has also been the subject of a lyrical essay by the Belgian novelist Jean-Philippe Toussaint entitled La Mélancolie de Zidane (2006).[180]

In 2010, footage of Zidane appeared in the "Waka Waka" music video by Shakira, which shows him celebrating France winning the 1998 World Cup.[181] In 2014, Australian sports presenter Les Murray collaborated with the band Vaudeville Smash and performed a Zidane tribute song, the accompanying video featuring four footballers performing ball tricks in Zidane masks, one of whom ends up headbutting a nightwatchman.[182][183] In 2016, Zidane was ranked one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre of Jordan, which noted: "[Zidane's] modest character has endeared him to the wider public."[184]

Personal life

Zidane's parents' house in the village of Aguemoune Ath Slimane in Algeria

At the age of 17, Zidane met his future wife, Véronique Fernández (born in Aveyron of Spanish descent),[185] while playing for Cannes in the 1988–89 season. Married in 1994, they have four sons: Enzo Alan Zidane Fernández (born 24 March 1995), Luca Zidane Fernández (born 13 May 1998),[186] Theo Zidane Fernández (born 18 May 2002),[187] and Elyaz Zidane Fernández (born 26 December 2005). As of 2018, Enzo is a midfielder for CF Rayo Majadahonda, Luca is Real Madrid's fourth-choice goalkeeper, Theo (midfielder) is in Cadete A and Elyaz (midfielder) in Infantil B at the Real Madrid Academy.[188]

Career statistics



Club Season League Cup[nb 1] Continental Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Cannes 1988–89 Division 1 2 0 0 0 2 0
1990–91 28 1 3 0 31 1
1991–92 31 5 3 0 4 0 38 5
Totals 61 6 6 0 4 0 71 6
Bordeaux 1992–93 Division 1 35 10 4 1 39 11
1993–94 34 6 3 0 6 2 43 8
1994–95 37 6 5 1 4 1 46 8
1995–96 33 6 3 0 15 6 51 12
Totals 139 28 15 2 25 9 179 39
Juventus 1996–97 Serie A 29 5 2 0 10 2 41 7
1997–98 32 7 5 1 11 3 48 11
1998–99 25 2 5 0 10 0 40 2
1999–2000 32 4 3 1 6 0 41 5
2000–01 33 6 2 0 4 0 39 6
Totals 151 24 17 2 41 5 209 31
Real Madrid 2001–02 La Liga 31 7 9 2 9 3 49 12
2002–03 33 9 1 0 14 3 48 12
2003–04 33 6 7 1 10 3 50 10
2004–05 29 6 1 0 10 0 40 6
2005–06 29 9 5 0 4 0 38 9
Totals 155 37 23 3 47 9 225 49
Career totals 506 95 61 7 117 23 684 125


National Team Year Apps Goals
France[190][191][192] 1994 2 2
1995 6 2
1996 12 1
1997 8 1
1998 15 5
1999 6 1
2000 13[A] 4
2001 8 2
2002 9 1
2003 7 3
2004 7 4
2005 5 2
2006 10 3
Total 108 31

A Includes one appearance from the match against FIFA XI on 16 August 2000 which FIFA and the French Football Federation count as an official friendly match.[191]

Managerial statistics

Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
Real Madrid Castilla 25 June 2014 4 January 2016
Real Madrid 4 January 2016 31 May 2018
Career totals

Honours and achievements


Legion Honneur Chevalier ribbon.svg
5th Class/Knight: Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur: 1998[241]
National Order of Merit - Athir v.1 (Algeria) - ribbon bar.gif
3rd Class/Athir: Athir de l’Ordre du mérite national: 2006[242]
Legion Honneur Officier ribbon.svg
4th Class/Officer: Officier de la Légion d’Honneur: 2009[243]


  • The most expensive footballer in history: 2001–2009[244]
  • Oldest player to win the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball: 34 years and 17 days[245]
  • Most goals scored in FIFA World Cup Final matches: 3 goals (shared with Pelé, Vavá and Geoff Hurst)[246]
  • Most FIFA World Cup Final matches scored in: 2 matches (shared with Pelé, Vavá and Paul Breitner)[246]
  • Most red cards received in FIFA World Cup matches: 2 (shared with Rigobert Song)[246]
  • Midfielder with the most appearances in the ESM Team of the Season[247]
  • Only player in history to be named player of the year in 3 of the Top 5 Leagues: Division 1 Player of the Year (1996), Serie A Footballer of the Year (2001), Don Balón Award (2002)[248]
  • Only player in history to win the World Cup and the European Championship while being named best player of both competitions[249]
  • Most Onze d'Or awards: 7 in total (shared with Cristiano Ronaldo)[250]
  • Most FIFA World Player of the Year awards: 6 in total[251]
  • Best winning streak in the history of La Liga: 16 games (shared with Pep Guardiola)[252]
  • Most consecutive away wins in the history of La Liga: 13 games[253]
  • Manager with the lowest number of defeats after 100 games (in Spanish football): 8 losses[254]
  • Manager with most trophies after 100 games (in Spanish football): 7 titles[255]
  • Longest unbeaten run in Real Madrid history: 40 games[256]
  • Longest unbeaten run in Spanish football: 40 games[256]
  • First French manager, except the French-Argentinian Helenio Herrera, to win UEFA Champions League: 2015–16[257]
  • Longest scoring run (all major competitions) in European football: 73 games[258]
  • Only manager in history to win 3 consecutive UEFA Champions League trophies in its modern format: 2015–16, 2016–17,[259] and 2017–18
  • Only manager in Real Madrid history to win four trophies in one season[260]
  • Only manager in Real Madrid history to win the UEFA Super Cup twice[261]
  • First manager to win two consecutive UEFA Super Cup titles since Arrigo Sacchi[260]
  • Quickest manager in the history of the Top 5 Leagues to win 7 titles with a single club: 19 months[262]
  • Quickest manager in the history of the Top 5 Leagues to win 8 titles with a single club: 23 months[263]
  • Quickest manager in history to be named FIFA Football Coach of the Year: 653 days[262]
  • Most The Best FIFA Football Coach awards: 3 in total[264]
  • Only person in history to win the Onze d'Or award as a player and as a manager[265]
  • Only person in history to win FIFA’s Player of the Year award and Coach of the Year award[266]
  • Only person in history to win the IFFHS award as the best playmaker and as a manager[267]
  • Only person in history to win the FIFA Club World Cup trophy successively as a manager[268]
  • Only manager in Real Madrid history to win five trophies in a calendar year[269]
  • Only person in history to win the Club World Cup/Intercontinental Title twice as a player and twice as a manager[270]
  • Only person in history to be named French Player of the Year twice and French Manager of the Year twice[271]
  • Highest score for a manager winning the IFFHS World's Best Club Coach award: 326 points[267]
  • First manager to reach three consecutive UEFA Champions League finals since Marcello Lippi: 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18[272]
  • First manager to win three consecutive European Cup/UEFA Champions League finals: 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18[273]
  • Manager with most Champions League trophies: 3 (shared with Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti)[274]

See also

  • List of footballers with 100 or more caps
  • List of UEFA Champions League winning managers


  1. Includes Coupe de la Ligue


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External links