Born: Marseille 23 June 1972
Club(s): Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus, Real Madrid
International Caps: 108
International Goals: 31
To think this tall leggy awkward looking French playmaker might have chose Blackburn Rovers over Juventus?
Zizou was a player who in the early days always looked like he had something, but whether it would have been a gamble to take on this skillful but hot headed magician was a question asked by a lot of clubs.
After four years at Cannes (making his first appearance in 1989) he moved to Bordeaux where he made a name for himself in the early nineties winning the Ligue 1 young player of the year in 1994 and the player of the year in 1996 prompting Juventus to pay a bargain £3m for his services aged just 24. It would be a move that would enlighten his career and one that would eventually turn him into the best footballer on the planet.
Zidane won back to back league titles at Juventus before taking France to World Cup glory on home soil with two headed goals in the final of 1998. In 2000 he was player of the tournament as France won the Euros and moved to Real Madrid for a world record fee of over €77m.
Whilst at Real Madrid Zidane won the champions league with a stunning goal in the final of 2002, controlling an almost impossible left foot volley into the roof of the net, but won only one la liga championship with an under-achieving side known as Galacticos for their world renowned star players.
In 2004 Zidane announced his retirement from international football but was persuaded to reconsider in 2006 ahead of the World Cup finals. A rejuvenated 34 year old would grab France by the scruff of their hands to lead them to the final where he would again score before opponents Italy equalised. And with minutes left in extra time, the moment came when this temperamental genius would bow out like no other before or since on such a stage as he head butt the chest of Marco Materazzi. It was to be the final thing Zidane did on a football pitch as France would go on to lose on penalties.
Some say that red card blighted his career, I say what Zidane did, he did differently. An exceptionally talented wizard with the ball at his feet, he could do anything and made anything look better when he did it. Zidane left football when football demanded more Zidane. He certainly did it his way, and he did it better than the rest.