Zinedine Yazid Zidane
Date Of Birth: 23 June, 1972
Place Of Birth: Marseille, France
Playing Position: Attacking Midfielder
The French star of Algerian descent is recognised as one of the greatest players of the game. Zidane's graceful style combined with excellent skills were unmatched and he was hard to stop when he got going. In a career spanning almost 20 years, Zidane played for Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus before transferring to Spanish giants Real Madrid for then a record transfer fee of €75 million. Zidane's mere presence on the field was a quite a boosting factor for his team and he proved time and time again as why he was the best player by scoring vital goals in crucial matches like "that" volley against Leverkusen and "those" two goals against Brazil.
The Euro 2000 was jointly hosted by Belgium and the Netherlands. France were drafted into Group D along with co-hosts Netherlands. They started their Euro campaign in an emphatic fashion as they thrashed '92 winners Denmark 3-0. Blanc, Henry and Wiltord were on target for France as Zidane pulled the strings from midfield and fed the assist that led to Henry's goal. A 1-2 win over Czech Republic and a 2-3 loss against Netherlands meant that France finished second in the group and faced Spain in the quarterfinals. Zidane broke the deadlock against Spain with an emphatic free-kick as France went on to win that game 2-1.
Zidane in action for France in the Euro 2000 final vs Italy
A controversial penalty awarded to France courtesy of an Abel Xavier handball was successfully converted by Zinedine Zidane as the French beat Portugal 1-0. The final against Italy was a memorable game as France scored a last gasp equaliser to send the game into extra time after Marco Delvecchio had scored for the Azzurri. Wiltord's equaliser and Zidane's assist for David Trezeguet's Golden Goal crowned France as European Champions and became the only nation after West Germany to be crowned Euro winners while being World Champions as well.
Zinedine Zidane's excellent performances throughout the tournament prompted the UEFA to name him as Player of the Tournament as he finished with two goals and two assists to his name. Zidane's elegant displays at the heart of the French midfield reminded views of the successful 1984 Platini campaign.
Zizou's tremendous trophy collection of club and personal accolades can be matched by few. He won the Intertoto Cup with Bordeaux before going on to win two Serie A titles, UEFA Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup with Juventus. He won the La Liga and the Champions League with Real Madrid while also adding another Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup to his collection. Zidane was instrumental in France's successful 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 campaigns also. In 1998, he was named as the recipient of the Ballon d'Or and went on to win three FIFA World Player of the Year awards. Zizou won the Golden Ball at the 2006 World Cup.
Zidane retired following the 2006 World Cup. After a brief spell away from the spot light, Zidane returned to football by being appointed advisor to Real Madrid President, Florentino Perez. In November 2010, he furthered his role by becoming the special adviser to Real Madrid's first team and eventually became the sporting director in July 2011. Outside football, Zidane has been active in charitable activities and events. He also serves as a UN Goodwill Ambassador.