Thursday, September 13, 2012

zinedine zidane

Zinedine Yazid Zidane born 23 June 1972 is a retired French footballer who is often regarded as the best European player of all time. Zidane played as an attacking midfielder, and was the leading figure of a generation of French players that won the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship. An injury prevented Zidane from playing in France's first two matches in the 2002 World Cup, and he rushed back prematurely for the third game despite not being fully fit, but could not prevent France from being eliminated in the group stage. 

He later participated to the 2004 European Championship where France finished in the top of their group, but they were eliminated by the eventual winner of the competition, Greece, in the quarter finals. After these disillusions, he briefly retired from international football but 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 and an Intercontinental Cup and a UEFA Super Cup each with both aforementioned sides. Zidane was voted as FIFA World Player of the Year on three occasions (1998, 2000 and 2003), a feat matched only by his former Real Madrid team mate Ronaldo, and also won the Ballon d'Or in 1998. 

Zidane retired from professional football after the 2006 World Cup. He currently holds the post of Real Madrid Director of Football, filling the role previously held by Jorge Valdano. On 31 July 2012, Real Madrid announced that as soon as he completes management qualification, he will begin training to be a coach whilst at the same time coaching Real Madrid’s youth academy. 

Real Madrid 

In 2001, Zidane joined Real Madrid for a then world record fee of 150 billion Italian lire. (about €75 million) and signed a four-year contract. He scored a famous match-winning goal, a volley hit with his weaker foot, in Madrid's 2–1 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 UEFA Champions League Final completing his personal quadruple. The next season, Zidane helped Real Madrid to win the 2002–03 La Liga and was named the FIFA World Player of the Year for the third time. In 2004, fans voted him as the best European footballer of the previous 50 years in UEFA's fiftieth-anniversary Golden Jubilee Poll. While Zidane's final season of club football ended without a trophy, he enjoyed success on a personal note by scoring his first hat-trick against Sevilla FC in a 4–2 win in January 2006. 

He ended the season for Real Madrid as their second highest goalscorer and assists provider behind team-mates Ronaldo and Beckham respectively, with 9 goals and 10 assists in 28 games. On 7 May 2006, Zidane, who had announced his plans to retire after the 2006 World Cup, played his last home match and scored in a 3–3 draw with Villarreal. The squad wore commemorative shirts with ZIDANE 2001–2006 below the club logo. He left Real Madrid at the end of the season. In 2012, Zidane featured for Madrid in an All Stars Match against Manchester United.   

International career

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. He earned his first cap with France as a substitute in a friendly against the Czech Republic on 17 August 1994, which ended in a 2–2 draw after Zidane scored twice to help France erase a 2–0 deficit. After Éric Cantona was handed a year-long suspension in January 1995 for assaulting a fan, Zidane took over the playmaker position. 

France were eliminated in the Euro 96 semi-finals in a penalty shootout by the Czech Republic after the match ended 0–0 in extra time. 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 brace, 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 his image was projected onto the Arc de Triomphe. Two years later France won Euro 2000, becoming the first team to hold both the World Cup and the European Championship since West Germany in 1974. Zidane finished with two goals, a memorable free kick against Spain in the quarter final and the golden goal in the semi final against Portugal, and was named player of the tournament by UEFA.

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