On his 44th birthday lets have a round up about what made Zinedine Zidane such a great footballer
Sir Alex Ferguson quotes, "Give me Zidane and ten sticks I will win you a champions league".
"The problem with playing against Zidane is it's a bit like playing " FIND THE BALL" ( a game which there are three vessels with a ball you have to determine which is hidden). You see the ball and do not see it anymore. You see the ball and do not see more" Gennaro Gattuso, Milan's midfield.
There are two main attributes that made Zidane the fantastic player that he was. A great first touch and technique are two absolutely essential attributes, Zidane had these in abundance. So often the ball would die on Zidane's feet no matter which way he received a pass- this is supremely difficult. A great first touch gives one the extra half second to beat a defender, make that decisive pass, or score a goal. Technique is equally vital in the way that a gun's barrel acts as essential passage for the bullet to travel through. His technique allowed him to carry out whatever his creative mind came up with. It's one thing to understand conceptually what to do, another entirely to execute it. Having poor technique and expecting success is like a FIFA player who thinks they are great in real life because they win often in the game. These two attributes were the foundation to Zidane's success but by no means the only things. A perfect first touch and technique can be found in a good many players, here is what essentially created separation between Zidane and the rest. Eagle eye vision, intelligence, unrivaled balance made possible by his flexible hips, natural toughness and street smarts derived from the streets of France and long limbs that made it easier to glide and evade defenders. All of this culminated in an elegance that merged with his technique to make him seem always at ease.
Incredible technical ability on the ball and passing vision. He is both a great play maker and great goalscorer. He played with an edge, with that infamous temper.
What people really remember is that he shines on the biggest stages. Remember those goals against Brazil and Bayer Leverkusen?
Zidane is a blend of nature and nurture. In him, hard-work and discipline met elegance and grace to produce one of the finest footballers to set foot on a pitch.
The son of Kabyle immigrants, Zidane learned to play soccer in the streets of La Castellane, a rough section of Marseille. After starring for local youth clubs, 14-year-old Zidane was discovered at a French Football Federation training camp by AS Cannes recruiter Jean Varraud, and spent the next three years honing his skills in Cannes' youth division.
Zidane made his first professional appearance for Cannes at 17. He transferred to Bordeaux in 1992, and in ensuing years the attacking midfielder earned renown for his sterling all-around play. Prone to the occasional flash of temper, Zidane otherwise was the embodiment of control with the ball at his feet, seemingly knowing when to maneuver through the defense, find a teammate with a pinpoint pass or rocket a shot at the goal.
Zidane transferred to Juventus F.C. in Italy's prestigious Series A League in 1996. The move brought a marked increase in visibility and expectations, but Zidane proved he was up to the challenge by steering Juventus to an Italian Super Cup, a UEFA Super Cup, an Intercontinental Cup and a pair of Series A titles over the next two seasons.
At his peak when France hosted the 1998 World Cup, Zidane spearheaded Les Bleus' march through the tournament with his crisp passing and dribbling, and then scored twice as France shut down Brazil in the final, 3-0, to become a national hero. Two years later, Zidane again was the linchpin of the French team's run to international glory, which culminated with a 2-1 win over Italy for the European Championship.
In 2001, Zidane signed with Spanish club Real Madrid for a world-record transfer fee of more than $66 million. The investment paid immediate dividends, as the French import helped Real Madrid win the coveted UEFA Champions League title in his first year and La Liga the following season.
Zidane had indicated he would retire after the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and it appeared his career was heading for a storybook finish when France advanced to the final against Italy. Instead, it ended in shocking fashion when, enraged by opponent Marco Materazzi's comments to him in extra time, he slammed his head into the Italian player's chest. Zidane was thrown out of the game, and France subsequently lost on penalty kicks.
Zidane's first son Enzo (19), playing for Real Madrid Castilla, the Real's B-Team. He has three younger brothers, Luca (16), Theo (12), and Elyaz (9) playing at the Real Madrid youth academy.