Zinedine Zidane is a former soccer player for the French national team, as well as Real Madrid and Juventus FC. He currently serves as the assistant coach and sporting director for Real Madrid. Zidane’s position was attacking midfielder.
Zidane was born in Marseille, France in 1972 and was playing soccer with neighborhood children as early as five years old. He idolized professional French players, and obtained his own player’s license at the age of ten. Zidane was soon noticed by talent scouts, and eventually went to play for Cannes for four years from 1986-1989.
During this time, Zidane also played for the French national youth teams, working his way from the Under 17, -18, and -21 teams until he was eligible to play for the senior French team in 1994. Zidane got his first chance to play in a FIFA World Cup when it came to France in 1998, but was given a red card in the second game and was forced to sit out several matches. He returned to score two goals against Brazil in the final, which France won–giving the country its first-ever World Cup victory. Overnight, Zidane became a French sports legend.
Zidane announced his retirement in 2004, but returned to captain the French team for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He was awarded the Golden Ball trophy for Best Player before the final match against Italy, which Zidane had stated would be the last match of his career. Though Zidane gave France an early lead with a penalty kick, Italian defender Marco Materazzi provoked Zidane into headbutting him in the chest, earning Zidane another red card and removing him from his final game. (In lieu of a three-match suspension, Zidane performed three days of community service through a FIFA-sponsored humanitarian project.)
Since his retirement, Zidane has played regularly for the Real Madrid Veterans team and acted as an ambassador for Qatar during the nation’s successful bid for the 2022 World Cup.
Awards & Championships
- 1994 – Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year
- 1995 – UEFA Intertoto Champion
- 1996 – Ligue 1 Player of the Year
- 1998 – FIFA World Cup Champion
- 1998 – FIFA World Cup All-Star Team
- 1998 – World Soccer Awards Player of the Year
- 1998 – French Player of the Year
- 2000 – UEFA European Football Championship Champion
- 2006 – FIFA World Cup Golden Ball