Born on June 23, 1972, Zidane learned playing football as a youngster on the streets of La Castellane, a rough section of Marsille. At 14 he was recruited by AS Cannes where he would spend the next 3 years improving his skills.

Zizou, making a name for himself

He made his debut at 17 for Cannes but by 1992 he was transferred to Bordeaux. There he earned a reputation as a well-rounded player and in his four years spent at the club won the Intertoto Cup and finished runner un against Bayern Munich in the 1995-1996 UEFA Cup. In 1996 he received the League 1 Player of the Year award.

Zinedine Zidane catching a football

Zidane transferred to Italy’s Juventus FC in 1996 and helped the team win an Italian Supercup, a UEFA Super Cup, an International Cup and two Serie A titles over the next two seasons. When France hosted the World Cup in 1998 he was at the peak of his career and spearheaded the team scoring twice against Brazil and bringing home the World Cup. Two years later Zizou, as he was nicknamed, managed to again lift his team and win the European Championship defeating Italy’s team in the final.

Real Madrid, FIFA Top 100 list and other achievements for Zidane

In 2001, he signed with Real Madrid for a world record fee of 75 million euros and led the team to win the UEFA Champions League trophy in his first year and La Liga in his second. He scored the winning goal in the 2002 UEFA Champions League final, a goal that has been cited as being the most beautiful one ever scored in the competition.

In 2004 he received the award for Best European football player of the past 50 years by UEFA Golden Jubilee poll and was included in the FIFA 100 list. He announced that he would retire after the 2006 World Cup and managed to take the team to the finals where, enraged by the comments of Marco Materazzi, slammed his head into the Italian player’s chest. He was eliminated and France lost the game at the penalty shoot-out.

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