First up it was Jarrod Bowen, now it’s Michael Hector’s turn to reveal his favourite player – the one and only Zinedine Zidane!
Hector on Zidane…
“I used to watch him on TV every Saturday night when he was playing for Real Madrid. He could do anything with the ball and was so enjoyable to watch playing the game.
“I think I also liked that he was a bit crazy too and could always be unpredictable. He had all the fair and skills anyone could want and I don’t think anybody he was facing him on the pitch actually knew what he was going to do next.
“He could either score an unbelievable goal, create something out of nothing or get sent-off for head-butting an opponent in the chest! Whatever he did, I really enjoyed watching him because he always provided something different from other players that were on the same pitch.”
Zinedine Zidane: Galáctico
A true genius with the ball at his feet, Zinedine Zidane marked an era in world football with his elegance and technical skills. Blessed with natural talent for this sport, the French midfielder won just about everything that could possibly be won, both at Club and international level.
Born in Marseille to Algerian immigrant parents, Zidane began playing with the youth teams of his native city, from where he went to Cannes, with whom he made his debut in the French first division at the age of 17. In 1992, after the relegation of his previous club, he signed with Bordeaux. It was there that he began to attain international recognition.
In the ensuing years, the attacking midfielder earned praise for his sterling all-around play. Prone to the occasional flash of temper, Zidane otherwise was the embodiment of control with the ball at his feet, seemingly knowing when to maneuver through the defence, find a team-mate with a pinpoint pass or rocket a shot at the goal.
In 1996, after reaching the UEFA Cup Final with Bordeaux, and the European Championships with France, he signed with Juventus. His spell playing for the Turin based club, where he won the Ballon d’Or in 1998, would coincide with one of the French national team’s greatest periods. Zidane guided ‘Les Bleus’ to victories in the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship.
These triumphs confirmed his status as the world’s best player at the time and awoke an interest in Real Madrid, who completed his signing for a world record transfer fee in July 2001. The investment paid immediate dividends, as the Frenchman helped Real Madrid win the coveted UEFA Champions League title in his first season at the Bernabéu, before adding the UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup and La Liga title the following season.
Zidane had indicated he would retire after the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and it appeared his career was heading for a storybook finish when France advanced to the final against Italy. Instead, it ended in disappointment when, enraged by opponent Marco Materazzi’s comments to him in extra time, he slammed his head into the Italian player’s chest. Zidane was shown a red card and France subsequently lost on penalties.
In 2004, Zidane was named best European soccer player of the past 50 years by the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll and was included in the FIFA 100, Pelé’s list of the 125 greatest living players. He remains one of only a handful of greats to win the Ballon d’Or award three times.
Real Madrid (2001-2006)
Games 108 Goals 31
World Cup (1998)
Champions League (2001/02)
Seria A (1996/97, 1997/98)
La Liga (2002/03)
Supercoppa Italiana (1997)
Intercontinental Cup (1996, 2002)
UEFA Intertoto Cup (1995, 1999)
Supercopa de España (2001, 2003)
UEFA Super Cup (1996, 2002)