Thursday, December 29, 2011

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Yazid Zidane (born 23 June 1972) is a retired French footballer. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. Zidane was the leading figure of a generation of French players that won the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship. After a brief international retirement, he returned to the national team in 2005 and captained France to the 2006 World Cup Final where he won the Golden Ball as the tournament's most outstanding player.

At club level Zidane won the La Liga and the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid, two Serie A league championships with Juventus, an Intercontinental Cup, and a UEFA Super Cup each with both aforementioned sides. He is, alongside Brazilian striker Ronaldo, the only three-time FIFA World Player of the Year winner; he also won the Ballon d'Or in 1998. He retired from professional football after the 2006 World Cup.

He currently holds the post of Real Madrid Director of Football, filling the spot previously held by Jorge Valdano.

Early life
Zidane is of Kabyle Berber descent. His parents, Smaïl and Malika, emigrated to Paris from the village of Aguemone in the Berber-speaking region of Kabylia in eastern 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. So in the mid-1960s, they moved to the northern Marseille suburb of La Castellane where, on 23 June 1972, Zidane was born as the youngest of five siblings. Zidane's father Smaïl worked as a warehouseman at a department store, often on the night shift, while his mother was a housewife. The family lived in so small a tower-block apartment in the housing complex that he, his parents, three brothers and one sister had to sit down to eat in shifts. Yet, due to his father's steady job, 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.

It was at La Castellane that Zidane had his earliest introduction to 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 Blaž Slišković, Enzo Francescoli and Jean-Pierre Papin as his idols while growing up.

Tributes and legacy
In 2004, Forbes magazine named him the 42nd-highest paid athlete in the world, with earnings of US$15.8 million a year. In November 2006, Zidane toured Bangladesh as the guest of Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. He also visited the Algerian birthplace of his parents, and met personally with Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who gave him an official reception.

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. The documentary was part of the 2009 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

Many experts have testified to Zidane's skills and impact as an all-time great, such as Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira who has labelled Zidane "a monster" for his performance and playing skills. French footballer Michel Platini states Zidane is one of the most skillful players the game has ever known: "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."

German coach Franz Beckenbauer stated: "Zidane is one of the greatest players in history, a truly magnificent player." Pelé, a World Cup winner three times with Brazil, hailed Zidane after seeing Brazil losing to France: "Zidane was the magician in the game." Italy's manager Marcello Lippi, who has also coached Zidane, opined "I think Zidane is the greatest talent we've known in football these last 20 years, yet he never played the prima donna. I am honoured to have been his manager." Among his peers, David Beckham has described Zidane as "the greatest of all time",FC Barcelona star Xavi has stated in a 2010 interview that Zidane was "the '90s and early 2000's best player" while Brazilian defender Roberto Carlos has said of Zidane that, "he is the best player I've seen", in a 2010 interview with French newspaper L'equipe. At the 1998 World Cup, Cesare Maldini, the manager of the Italian team, said: "I would give up five players to have Zizou in my squad." In 2011 asked players, journalist and their users to crown the best player in the UEFA Champions League of the past 20 years, Zidane topped the poll ahead of Lionel Messi.

Personal life
Zidane met his wife, Véronique Fernandez, while playing for Cannes in the 1988–89 season. They have four sons: Enzo Zidane Fernandez (b. 24 March 1995), Luca Zinedine Zidane Fernandez (b. 13 May 1998), Theo (b. 18 May 2002), and Elyaz Zidane Fernandez (b. 26 December 2006). Enzo, Luca and Theo are all members of the Real Madrid Academy. Enzo (Midfielder) is in Juvenil C ( Real Madrid's U-17 ), Luca (Goalkeeper) is in Infantil B and Theo (Striker) is in Benjamin B.

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