Zinedine Zidane’s Football Career on and off the Pitch
One of the most famous French footballers in the soccer community has got to be Zinedine Zidane. Playing in the Serie A, Ligue 1 and La Liga, Zidane has since migrated from his role as a midfielder to become the coach of the Real Madrid football team. So within this article we are going to look through his historic successes as both a player and manager. We will also analyse whether he was more effective on or off the pitch along with how he got started on his soccer journey all together and other notable achievements he has acquired over the years. So if you want to find out more about this legendary football icon, then continue reading.
Zidane’s Soccer Journey
Born in Marseille to parents of an Algerian heritage, Zinedine started his soccer journey at 10 years old. At this age he was given his first player’s license when he joined the local junior team for Catellane which was called US Saint-Henri. He only spent a year with this team before transferring to SO Septemes-les-Vallons after he was head hunted by the club’s coach – Robert Centenero.
During his four years with this junior team, he was scouted at a training camp by Jean Varraud of AS Cannes. He was only meant to join the squad for a six-week time period; however, he ended up staying on with Cannes for a further four years where he would play professionally for them at age 18. Throughout his time with the Cannes squad playing at a pro level, this is where the coaches discovered that he had a raw and sensitive, personality, which meant that he took comments from spectators, especially from the opposition to heart. But through this, his coaches helped him channel his emotions into his play rather than reacting to it. During his time with the Cannes first team he contributed to the club’s first ever European success by qualifying for the UEFA cup and achieving fourth place.
In 1992, Zidane transferred from Cannes to Bordeaux where he played for four years. During his time with the team he helped them secure a win at the 1995 Intertoto Cup and they also came runners up to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Cup of that season. He also acquired the Ligue 1 Player of the Year in 1996 too. Due to his impeccable performance in both the Ligue 1 matches and the national tournaments, he was in demand by a lot of the top Euro teams. And in 1996 he left Bordeaux and the Ligue 1 atmosphere behind to join Juventus and the Serie A.
During his first season with Juventus he was already winning the hearts and respect of fellow team mates and supporters due to his talent. He helped the team achieve champion’s status in the 1996/97 Serie A as well as the 1996 Intercontinental Cup. Because of his impressive performance during these tournaments he was awarded the Serie A Foreign Footballer of the Year award while only in his first season with Juventus.
He was the designated play maker for the Juventus first team who was positioned behind Alessandro Del Piero who was one of the club’s forwards. In an interview with Del Perio he stated that ‘Zidane had an extraordinary talent, which contributed to his sole interest in helping the team. He was not a selfish player. He had a unique ability to be a great and to be a team player. I was lucky to play with him.’ In the 1997 UEFA Champions League Final Juventus lost to Borussia Dortmund 3-1, and Zidane believed this was down to the fact he struggled to avoid the close marksmanship of Paul Lambert. But in the next season he came out fighting with a total of seven goals out of 32 matches which helped the squad win the 1997/98 Serie A for a following season.
With Juventus he was also awarded the FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or for his skill in the 1998 tournaments. However, 2001 saw Zinedine depart from Juventus after an altercation during the 2000/01 Champions League with Hamburger SV. This also meant that Juventus was eliminated in the group stages of the tournament after they managed to get second place the season before, this was a disappointing turn of events for fans and the club.
But after leaving Juventus, Zinedine soon signed a contract with Real Madrid for an astonishing fee of 150 billion Italian lire, which set a new record for the highest costing transfer in football. This contract was for four years in total and he made a fantastic impact straight away. During his first season with Real Madrid he scored an outstanding goal which was a volley hit with his lesser dominant foot. This goal went on to become a famous moment in the soccer community and ultimately won the match for the squad.
While he was playing for Real Madrid he also helped them win the 2002/03 La Liga champions title and was also named the FIFA World Player of the Year. And during his final season with the team he decided to retire from the field position completely after the 2006 World Cup. For his final match with Real Madrid against Villarreal, the squad had donned commemorative shirts with ‘Zidane 2001 – 2006’ embroidered below the club’s crest. Along with this, fans in the Santiago Bernabeu stands held a banner with the words ‘Thanks for the Magic’.
Below we have broken down his number of goals and appearances for each soccer club he played for across his career. As well as his time capping for the France national team, during World Cups and Euro tournaments.
- Cannes (1989-92) – 61 appearances, 6 goals
- Bordeaux (1992-96) – 139 appearances, 28 goals
- Juventus (1996-01) – 151 appearances, 24 goals
- Real Madrid (2001-06) – 155 appearances, 37 goals
- France U17 (1988-89) – 4 caps, 1 goal
- France U18 (1989-90) – 6 caps, 0 goals
- France U21 (1990-94) – 20 caps, 3 goals
- France (1994-06) – 108 caps, 31 goals
Greatest Football Achievements
Above we have taken a look back through Zidane’s history with all of the soccer clubs he has played for. However, now we are going to acknowledge his performance in each league by showcasing the achievements of the clubs he has donned the jersey for and contributed to.
- UEFA Intertoto Cup (Bordeaux) – 1995
- Serie A (Juventus) – 1996/97, 1997/98
- Supercoppa Italiana (Juventus) – 1997
- UEFA Super Cup (Juventus) – 1996
- Intercontinental Cup (Juventus) – 1996
- UEFA Intertoto Cup (Juventus) – 1999
- La Liga (Real Madrid) – 2002/03
- Supercopa de Espana (Real Madrid) – 2001, 2003
- UEFA Champions League (Real Madrid) – 2001/02
- UEFA Super Cup (Real Madrid) – 2002
- Intercontinental Cup (Real Madrid) – 2002
- FIFA World Cup (France) – 1998
- UEFA European Championship (France) – 2000
Transitioning to Manager
Prior to him taking up the managerial position in soccer, Zidane took part in a number of charity activities from 2006 to 2010. These consisted of a football event which raised $7,750 for the building of two schools and 16 three bedroom houses for Keuydaroon children and their families. He also took part in the 2008 Match Against Poverty and also raised money for UNICEF and Soccer Aid plus contributing a large donation to the country’s most hit by the Ebola epidemic in 2015.
Along with his charity work he also signed a number of endorsement deals with Adidas, Lego, France Telecom, Orange, Audi, Volvic and Christian Dior. There was also a statue unveiled by artist Adel Abdessemed in Algeria of Zidane’s infamous head butt with Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup Final. He also had cameos in Family Guy and the Waka Waka music video by Shakira.
In 2010 Zidane was appointed as the special advisor of the Real Madrid first team. And after only 1 year in this position he was then given the title of their sporting director which led him to becoming the assistant coach in 2013.
In 2014 Zinedine was then given the coach position for Real Madrid’s secondary team called the Real Madrid Castilla. However, during his time as assistant coach, it was felt that he was taking a more head coach approach with the players and the rest of the training staff.
But in 2016 the manager Rafael Benitez was dismissed and Zidane was called up to take his place as the manager of Real Madrid with a two and a half year contract. After only five days in the new position, the club had their first match in the La Liga. And with Zidane as the figure head of the club, Real Madrid defeated Deportivo La Coruna with a 5-0 victory.
He was with the club as manager across his two and a half year contract, but unfortunately departed at the end of the 17/18 season. This was announced a few days after the Champions League Final where Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1. He felt that the club had a ‘need for change’ and stepped away from the position, only to re-join them in 2019. This was due to a number of contributing factors such as their poor performance in the Copa del Rey, Champions League plus the departure of one of their star players – Ronaldo. When he re-joined in 2019 he signed a contract which will see him be the club’s manager until summer 2022.
- Real Madrid Castilla – 2014 to 2016
- Real Madrid – 2016 to present
Club Awards Under His Management
- La Liga 2016/17
- Supercopa de Espana 2017
- UEFA Champions League 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18
- UEFA Super Cup 2016, 2017
- FIFA Club World Cup 2016, 2017
Individual Managerial Awards
- La Liga Manager of the Month – April 2016, May 2017
- UEFA La Liga Team Revelation of the Year – 2015/16
- UEFA Champions League Breakthrough XI - 2015/16
- IFFHS World's Best Club Coach – Runner-up – 2016
- The Best FIFA Football Coach – Runner-up – 2016, 2018
- France Football French Manager of the Year -2016, 2017
- Le Buteur Coach of the Year – 2016
- UEFA La Liga Team of the Season – 2016/17
- France Football UEFA Champions League Team of the Season – 2016/17
- Onze d'Or Coach of the Year – 2016/17, 2017/18
- The Best FIFA Football Coach – 2017
- ESPN Manager of the Year – 2017
- IFFHS World's Best Club Coach -2017, 2018
- IFFHS Men's World Team – 2017
- RMC French Manager of the Year – 2017
- Globe Soccer Awards Best Coach of the Year – 2017
Is Zidane a More Effective Player or Manager?
Throughout this blog post we have taken the time to explore the history of Zidane’s football career, but now we want to know your thoughts on him. Do you find that he was more efficient on the pitch or as a manager? Was his prime on the field playing for Real Madrid or was it his expert managerial techniques that increased his popularity in the community? Let us know over on our social media pages.
You can also shop our fantastic range of Juventus and Real Madrid replicas kits over at Soccer Box and don the crest previously worn by Zidane with pride. All sportswear is 100% official and sourced direct from the respective manufacturer.
This article was written exclusively for Soccer Box by Loren Astbury