Born to immigrant parents and living in one of the most crime-ridden neighbourhoods of Marseille, France, few would expect such a child to become one of the greatest football players of all time. However, that’s exactly what Zinedine Zidane accomplished. With many accolades to his name and a career, you can match this footballer as an inspiration to children across the world. He’s living proof that your circumstances do not define you. Rather, you can choose to define your circumstances by never forgetting where he came from.
- He is nicknamed Zizou
Zinedine Zidane has one of the easiest nicknames. Most of his fans and friends call him Zizou. The origin of the name is not exactly known, but two of the most dominant theories are; one, he was first called so by a friend who reminded him of another skilled player called Zizou. Two, the nickname came about since people shied away from calling him Zizi, which in French slang means the male private organ.
2. Zinedine grew up in a strict but loving household.
Zinedine’s parents emigrated from Algeria to France. Before the outbreak of the Algerian War. They initially settled in Paris living in tough neighbourhoods. However, they were very few employment opportunities, so they relocated to Marseille. There they lived in one of Marseilles northern suburbs. Zinedine’s father was able to find work and support the family. His mother stayed home to raise their five children. Zinadine was their youngest child born June 23 1972.
3. Zinedine’s talent was evident from the time he was a child.
From the time he was young, it was clear as the dawn had great football potential. From playing with the local kids in the communal square at the centre of the housing development, he quickly started playing at clubs and coming to the attention of coaches and managers. By the time he was 18. He had left his family in Marseille and gone to play for Cannes. He was meant to spend six weeks there, but his stay extended to four years. His hotheadedness was already evident. He was very sensitive about his upbringing and culture and would not tolerate anyone mocking it.
4. He scored his first professional goal in 1991 at the age of 19.
Zinedine started playing for Cannes in 1989. In 1991, he scored his first goal. The club’s Chairman had promised him a car if he scored a goal as he did score so did the car get delivered. He had come a long way from the boy who had started at the club. He was now a young man with an astounding gift, but a sensitive heart and a quick temper. He’d been coached to channel his anger and frustration into his game. And while he had improved, his temperament was still volatile. But by this point, managers at bigger clubs now had their eye on the Algerian freshmen.
5. Zinedine’s international career kicked off in 2000.
In 2000, Zinedine was chosen to represent France at the Euro tournament. At the time he was playing club football at Italy’s Juventus having played for Bordeaux A few years after his departure from Cannes. He scored two goals in the tournament, one in the quarter-final and one in the semi-final. UE FA named him the player of the tournament. He didn’t get to fully participate in the 2002 World Cup due to injury and France was eliminated in the group stage of the tournament. After a similar performance at Euro 2004, Zinedine announced he would retire from international football.
6. Zinedine is rumoured to be worth $70 million.
As a footballer, Zinedine Zidane has earned a lot of money both on and off the pitch. He played professional football from 1998 until 2006, finishing his playing career at one of the world’s wealthiest clubs, Real Madrid. He’d also worked as an assistant manager and manager at Real Madrid, leaving in May 2018. Zinedine had also throughout his career been signed to lucrative endorsement deals for brands such as Audi, Christian Dior, and Adidas.
7. The 2006 World Cup saw Zinedine’s most infamous explosion on the pitch.
He was persuaded to come out of his retirement from international football to represent France in 2006. He was suspended for one match during the tournament but played magnificently helping his team to reach the final. He had already been awarded the Golden Ball as the player of the tournament when his last ever World Cup final began. As France played Italy, tensions ran high on the pitch; the game went into extra time. Only Marco Materazzi and Zinedine know what words were exchanged between them. But football fans were left gasping in shock when Zidane headbutted Materazzi in the chest and was sent off in the 110th Minute. The game went to penalties and France lost.
8. The reason for the headbutt has been partially explained.
At the time it was believed that Marco Materazzi had insulted Zinadine’s mother. Insults about his race, religion, ethnicity and background had followed Zidane from the time he started playing professionally. He was never one to take such insults lying down. Although his response shocked many, others felt very sympathetic. He received a hero’s welcome at France. Contrary to what many critics expected, Materazzi had tried to justify his actions that day saying he insulted the Zidane’s sister, and that what he said didn’t merit Zinadine’s response. Fans were outraged that Materazzi would speak so indifferently about insulting anyone in Zidane’s Family.
9. Zinedine struck back when accused of having an affair.
Zinedine met his wife when he was 17. They married in 1994 when the player was in his early 20s. They are parents to four sons. In the wake of the controversial headbutt in the 2006 World Cup, there were allegations in the press about an affair Zidane was conducting with Algerian born singer named Nadia, photographs of the two were published. Zidane immediately took action and sued the publication. The court granted him a substantial amount of money in damages, saying the magazine had breached his right to privacy. Photographs, the court said had been taken and published without Zidane’s consent, and many references were made without substantive facts.
10. Just because it was his last match doesn’t mean Zinedine didn’t serve a punishment.
Many people thought Zinedine would walk away scot-free after headbutting Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final. He was however red carded, which meant he would be banned from his next international match. But since he was retiring from international football, the punishment couldn’t be enforced. The footballer may not have served a one-match ban, but he did have to perform community service to make amends for his actions. Zinedine is no stranger to punishment. He spent a lot of time at CAN on cleanup duty because of his temper.
11. Zinadine is cautious about how he spends his money.
He maintains a luxury house in his hometown of Marseille, France. As well he and his family have been living in Spain for his tenure as manager of Real Madrid, which came to an end when he resigned in May 2018. (He is back in Spain as Real Madrid Manager)All of his sons have shown ability in the game and have played at club level so far. However, Zizou as he’s affectionately known in his home country is wary when it comes to his lifestyle. It’s not something he’s ever really discussed with the press. This is despite his enormous earnings over his career.
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