Zinedine Yazid Zidane (born 23 June 1972), popularly nicknamed Zizou, is a French former football midfielder who played for four European clubs, including Juventus FC and Real Madrid. As a member and later captain of the French national team he participated in two World Cup finals - including winning the tournament in 1998 - and in three European Championships, winning that tournament in 2000.
Having gained fame in Europe as a playmaker for Juventus, Zidane attracted worldwide attention in the 1998 World Cup final with two headed goals against Brazil which won his country its first FIFA World Cup. He also contributed to France's victory in Euro 2000, and at the club level he went on to win domestic championships in Italy and Spain with Juventus and Real Madrid respectively. In the final of the 2001-02 UEFA Champions League he scored the winning goal for Real Madrid. At the 2006 FIFA World Cup, he played an inspiring role in his team's advancement to the final and was named "Most Outstanding Player" of the tournament, receiving the Golden Ball. However, Zidane's career ended in disgrace as he was dismissed in extra-time of the 2006 Final for headbutting Italian defender Marco Materazzi. The red card he received in the 2006 World Cup Final brought him to equal two negative disciplinary records (see FIFA World Cup records): most cautions for a player in World Cup games (six), and most sending-offs (two).
Zidane was elected FIFA World Player of the Year a record-equalling three times (1998, 2000, 2003), finished in the top-three an additional three times (1997, 2002, 2006). He was also named European Footballer of the Year in 1998. The world-record fee of ?66 million (US$87 million, ?47 million) for his transfer to Real Madrid in 2001 is the highest ever paid. In 2004, he topped the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll as the "Best European football player of the past 50 years", and was included in the FIFA 100, Pel?'s list of the 125 greatest living footballers.
As originally announced on 25 April 2006, Zidane retired from professional football after the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Zidane was born in Marseille on 23 June, 1972 into a family of Kabyle ethnicity, as the youngest of five children, and was raised in La Castellane, a government-sponsored housing project (cit? HLM) in the city's northern suburbs (the Quartier Nord). His parents, Ismail (???????) and Malika (????) were originally from the village of Aguemone, Algeria, from where they had immigrated to France. In 1993, Zidane married V?ronique Zidane (born Lentisco), a former French dancer and model of Spanish origin whose parents live in Rodez, Aveyron, France. They have four sons: Enzo (born 24 March 1995 and named after the Uruguyan Football player Enzo Francescoli, Zidane's childhood hero), Luca (born 13 May 1998), Th?o (born 18 May 2002), and ?lyaz (born 26 December 2005).
Early career, Cannes and Bordeaux (1988-1996)
Zidane got his start in football at a young age when he joined the junior team of US Saint-Henri, his local club in the La Castellane district of Marseille. At the age of 14, Zidane left Septemes and participated in the first year junior selection for the league championship, where Jean Varraud, AS Cannes' recruiter, took notice of him. Zidane went to Cannes for what was intended to be a six-week stay, but remained at the club for four years to play with professionals.Showing the determination of an athlete who wanted to exceed expectations, Zidane played his first game in First Division at the age of 17, and it was from then that football went from an ambition to a passion. The Cannes midfielder scored his first goal on February 8th, 1991 (he received a Clio as a promise from the Cannes President, who promised him a car when he scored his first goal as a professional), and his first season with the club was marked by a qualification for the UEFA Cup. Zidane's second season with Cannes was not as promising, but on the non-professional front he met his future wife Veronique, a Spanish dancer. Afterwards, Zidane spent four years with FC Girondins de Bordeaux, leading them to victory in the 1995 Intertoto Cup and to a 2nd place in the 1995/96 UEFA Cup tournament. In Bordeaux, he met Bixente Lizarazu and Christophe Dugarry, with whom he played a set of midfield combinations that would become the trademark of both Bordeaux and the 1998 French national team. In 1996, he was transferred to Italy's Juventus F.C. for a fee of ? 3 million.
Turin and Madrid (1996-2006)
At Juventus, Zidane was one of the top players and playmaker of Marcello Lippi's team, along with Didier Deschamps, Alessandro Del Piero, and Edgar Davids. His team won two Serie A titles and reached two consecutive UEFA Champions League finals, in 1997 and 1998, losing both, the latter to the Spanish club Real Madrid.
In 2001, Zidane was transferred to Real Madrid on a four-year contract. The transfer fee was ?66m, around ?45.6m, the highest in football history. His fellow Galacticos at Madrid included Ra?l, Lu?s Figo, Roberto Carlos, and later Ronaldo and David Beckham. He scored a spectacular winning volley in a 2-1 win over the German team Bayer Leverkusen in the 2001-2002 Champions League final at Glasgow's Hampden Park.
On 7 May 2006, Zidane played his last home game for Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernab?u stadium. His team-mates wore special jerseys that had ZIDANE 2001-2006 written on the bottom of the club logo. The Real Madrid fans gave him a warm reception and kept cheering him throughout the game. The opposing team was Villarreal CF, and the game ended in a 3-3 draw, where he scored the second goal for Real Madrid. After the game, Zidane swapped jerseys with Juan Rom?n Riquelme, the Villarreal CF and Argentinean midfielder. Zidane was given an ovation by spectators chanting "merci", which left him in tears.
Zidane holds dual citizenship of both France and Algeria, and therefore could have played for Algeria. However, coach Abdelhamid Kermali denied him a position on the team, arguing that the young midfielder