Zinédine Zidane

Zinedine Yazid Zidane (born 23 June 1972), nicknamed “Zizou”, is a French former professional football player and current manager of Real Madrid. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Zidane was an elite play-maker, renowned for his elegance, vision, ball control and technique, and played as an attacking midfielder for Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus and Real Madrid. At club level, Zidane won two Serie A league titles with Juventus, before he moved to Real Madrid for a world record fee of EUR77.5 million in 2001, which remained unmatched for the next eight 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. 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 Légion d’honneur 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 in 1998, 2000 and 2003, and 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. Zidane is one of eight players to have won the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League and the Ballon d’Or, and was the ambassador for Qatar’s successful bid to stage the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the first Arab country to host the tournament.

After retiring as a player, Zidane transitioned into coaching, and began as his head coaching career at Real Madrid Castilla. He remained in the position for two years before taking the helm of the first team in January 2016. In his two and a half seasons with Madrid, Zidane won the UEFA Champions League an unprecedented three times consecutively, a La Liga title, a Supercopa de Espana, and the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup twice each. His success saw him named Best FIFA Men’s Coach in 2017, but he resigned in May 2018. Following poor results by Real Madrid in the subsequent months, Zidane returned to the club as manager in March 2019.

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