Zinedine Yazid Zidane (born 23 June 1972) is a French assistant coach and sporting director at Real Madrid, and a retired footballer who played as an attacking midfielder for the French national team, Juventus and Real Madrid. Renowned for his elegance, vision, and technique, Zidane was named the best European footballer of the past 50 years by UEFA. and has been described as one of the greatest players in the history of the game.
Early life and career
Zidane is of Kabyle Berber descent. The word "Zidane" is a European variant of the Arabic name Zeydan, meaning "increases the faith." 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. On 23 June 1972, Zidane was born there as the youngest of five siblings. His father Smaïl worked as a warehouseman at a department store, often on the night shift, while his mother was a housewife. The family live a reasonably comfortable life by the standards of the neighborhood, which was notorious throughout Marseille for its high crime and unemployment rates.
Both France and Algeria consider Zidane a citizen, but he was ineligible to play for the Algerian national team. It was rumoured that coach Abdelhamid Kermali denied Zidane a position for the Algerian squad because he felt the young midfielder was not fast enough. However, Zidane dismissed the rumour in a 2005 interview, saying that he would have been ineligible to play for Algeria because he had already played for France.
1998 World Cup
The 1998 FIFA World Cup was the first World Cup that Zidane participated in. It was held in his home country France. The French team won all three games in the group stage but Zidane was sent off in the second match against Saudi Arabia for a stamp on Fuad Anwar, becoming the first French player to receive a red card in a World Cup finals. Without their suspended playmaker France proceeded to win 1–0 in the last sixteen game against Paraguay and, on his return to the side, defeated Italy 4–3 on penalties after a goalless draw in the quarter finals. France then defeated Croatia 2–1 in the semi final. Zidane played a major role in the team's accomplishment, though he had yet to score a goal at the World Cup.
Zidane and France went on to play against defending champions and favourites Brazil at the Stade de France in the 1998 FIFA World Cup Final. France dominated Brazil from the kick-off, with Zidane scoring two identical goals, both headers from corner kicks taken by Emmanuel Petit and Youri Djorkaeff. Courtesy of Zidane's two goals, France went into the break 2–0 up at half-time with one hand already on the World Cup trophy. Emmanuel Petit added a third goal deep in stoppage time to seal the 3–0 win and France's first ever World Cup. Zidane became an instant national hero, and over one million people celebrated the victory on the Champs-Élysées where a huge image of Zidane was projected on the Arc de Triomphe along with the words "Merci Zizou".
2006 World Cup Finals
He is most famous to American audiences for his headbutt in the finals of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, after being provoked by Marco Materazzi. The referee was able to see the headbutt via replays, and gave Zidane a red card, ejecting him from the game. France went on to lose the game in penalty kicks.