Zin?dine Zidane Profile

Born Zin?dine Yazid Zidane on June 23, 1972 in Marseille, France. Zidane learned to play football in the streets of Marseilles and was discovered at age 14 by a talent scout. He signed as a schoolboy for Cannes FC.

Zidane transferred to FC Girondins de Bordeaux for the 1992–93 season, winning the 1995 Intertoto Cup and finishing runner-up in the 1995–96 UEFA Cup in four years with the club. In 1996, Zidane moved to Champions League winners Juventus F.C. for a fee of ?3 million.

In 2001, Zidane joined Real Madrid for €76 million, the most expensive transfer fee in football history, and signed a four-year contract. The next season, Zidane was named the FIFA World Player of the Year for the third time. In 2004, fans voted him atop UEFA’s fiftieth-anniversary Golden Jubilee Poll, and he was included in the FIFA 100.

He earned his first cap with France as a substitute in a friendly against the Czech Republic on 17 August 1994. Then he won the 1998 World Cup with France, scoring twice in the final.

Zidane finished with two goals as France won Euro 2000, becoming the first team to hold both the World Cup and the European Championship. On 12 June 2004, after France were eliminated in the Euro 2004 quarterfinals, Zidane retired from international football. However, at the urging of coach Raymond Domenech and seeing France struggle to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, Zidane came out of retirement and was immediately reinstated as team captain.

At the 2006 World Cup, he wore special Adidas Golden Predator football boots, made as a tribute as this World Cup contained his last matches as a football player.

After scoring a seventh-minute penalty in the final, Zidane became only the fourth player in World Cup history to score in two different finals, along with Pel?, Paul Breitner, and Vav?, in addition to being tied for first place with Vav?, Pel? and Geoff Hurst with three WC final goals apiece. However, he was sent off in the 110th minute with the match tied 1-1, and did not participate in the penalty shootout, which Italy won 5-3. Despite his red card and the controversy that followed, Zidane was nonetheless awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the competition.

As Zidane and Italy defender Marco Materazzi were jogging up the pitch in close proximity of each other, they briefly exchanged words after Materazzi was seen tugging at Zidane’s jersey before Zidane began to walk away from him. Moments later, Zidane suddenly stopped, turned around and rammed his head into Materazzi’s chest, knocking him to the ground. Although play was halted, referee Horacio Elizondo did not appear to have seen the confrontation. According to match officials’ reports, fourth official Luis Medina Cantalejo informed Elizondo of the incident through his headset.

After consulting his assistants, Elizondo issued Zidane a red card in the 110th minute. He also became the fourth player red-carded in a WC final, in addition to being the first sent off in extra time.

After video evidence suggested that Materazzi had verbally provoked Zidane, three British media newspapers claimed to have hired lip readers to determine what Materazzi had said, with The Times, The Sun and Daily Star claiming that Materazzi called Zidane «the son of a terrorist whore.» In 2008, The Sun and Daily Star made public apologies to Materazzi. The Times has yet to do so.

Zidane only partly explained that repeated harsh insults about his mother and sister had caused him to react. Materazzi admitted insulting Zidane, but argued that Zidane’s behaviour had been very arrogant and that the remarks were trivial. Materazzi also insisted that he did not insult Zidane’s mother (who was ill at the time).

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