Zinedine Zidane is a French former professional football player who played as an attacking midfielder. He is the current manager of La Liga club Real Madrid.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Zidane was an elite playmaker renowned for his elegance, vision, passing, ball control, and technique.
He received many individual accolades as a player, including being named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1998, 2000 and 2003, and won the 1998 Ballon d’Or.
He was voted Ligue 1 Player of the Year in 1996, Serie A Footballer of the Year in 2001, and La Liga Best Foreign Player in 2002.
- Full name: Zinedine Yazid Zidane // Popularly known in French as Zizou
- Profession: Football player
- Born: 23 June 1972, La Castellane, Marseille, France
- Height: 1.85 m
- Spouse: Véronique Zidane (m. 1994)
- Number: 5 (Real Madrid C.F. / Midfielder), 21 (Juventus F.C. / Midfielder), 7 (FC Girondins de Bordeaux / Midfielder)
- Teams coached: Real Madrid C.F. (Association football manager, since 2019)
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About Zinedine Zidane
Zidane was born on 23 June 1972 in La Castellane, Marseille, in Southern France. He is the youngest of five siblings. Zidane is a Muslim of Algerian Kabyle descent.
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.
His father worked as a warehouseman and nightwatchman at a department store, often on the night shift, while his mother was a housewife.
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.
Zidane credits his strict upbringing and his father as the “guiding light” in his career.
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.
In July 2011, Zidane named former Marseille players Blaž Slišković, Enzo Francescoli and Jean-Pierre Papin as his idols while growing up.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
Zidane started his career at Cannes before establishing himself as one the best players in the French Division 1 at Bordeaux.
In 1996, he moved to Juventus where he won trophies including two Serie A titles. He moved to Real Madrid for a world record fee at the time of €77.5 million in 2001, which remained unmatched for the next eight years.
In Spain, Zidane won several trophies, including a La Liga title and the UEFA Champions League. In the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final, he scored a left-foot volleyed winner which is considered to be one of the greatest goals in the competition’s history.
Capped 108 times by France, Zidane won the 1998 FIFA World Cup, scoring twice in the final, and was named to the All-Star Team.
This triumph made him a national hero in France, and he received the Légion d’honneur in 1998. He won UEFA Euro 2000, and was named Player of the Tournament.
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.
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.
He 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 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 initial two and a half seasons with Madrid, Zidane won the UEFA Champions League an unprecedented three times consecutively, won the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup twice each, as well as a La Liga title, and a Supercopa de España.
This success led to Zidane being named Best FIFA Men’s Coach in 2017, but he resigned in May 2018.
Following poor results by the club in the subsequent months, Zidane returned to Real Madrid as manager in March 2019.