Hull City

My Favourite Player: Ryan Mason

13 December 2017
In the next instalment of our regular feature, we find out the legends of the game that have inspired our boys in black and amber.

Ryan Mason is the latest member of the Tigers’ squad to reveal his favourite player – former French international and global superstar Zinedine Zidane!

Mason on Zidane…
“I used to watch him every weekend on the TV when he was playing for Real Madrid. The best way to describe watching him play was poetry in motion – I think that’s the right wording to use anyway!

“He was beautiful to watch and seeing him with the ball at his feet was an absolute joy. I would pay money to watch him play every week – even now!

“Most of the time, I always pretended to be Zidane in the playground because I always wore Predator’s as a youngster which were the boots Zidane wore as well. A lot of kids at the time used to wear their Predator’s with the tongue really, really long like David Beckham did, but ‘Zizou’ used to have his really short and tucked in and that’s how I used to wear my Pred’s too! I was just copying him and trying to be like him because he was an absolute legend.”

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 manoeuvre 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.

Cannes (1989-1992)
Bordeaux (1992-1996)
Juventus (1996-2001)
Real Madrid (2001-2006)

International Career
France (1994-2006)
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)