Saturday, July 2, 2011

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane (French pronunciation: [zinedin zidan]) (born 23 June 1972) is a retired French footballer. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time . Zidane played for major club teams in France, Italy and Spain, and was the captain of the French national team. He was the iconic 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.


Zidane's parents, Smaïl and Malika, emigrated to Paris from the village of Aguemone in the Kabylie region of 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. Thus, even after he joined school, while he did practise Judo attaining a green belt and indulge in skateboarding and bicycling, football remained his greatest passion.

Youth Clubs

This passion was turned into a career when at the age of ten, Zidane got his first player's license after joining the junior team of a local club from La Castellane by the name of US Saint-Henri. After spending a year and a half at US Saint-Henri, Zidane joined SO Septèmes Valons when the Septèmes coach Robert Centenero convinced the club's Director to get Zidane.

Zidane stayed with Septèmes till the age of fourteen, 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 Jean Varraud who recommended him to the training center director of the club, Gilles Rampillon.

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