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Zinedine Zidane

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Status: Single

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Zinedine Yazid Zidane (IPA: ; born 23 June 1972), popularly nicknamed Zizou, is a retired French football player of Algerian descent, famous for leading France to winning the 1998 World Cup. He was a midfielder who played for four European clubs, including Juventus FC and Real Madrid. As a member and later captain of French national team he participated in two World Cup finals - including winning the tournament in 1998 - and in three European Championships, winning that tournament in 2000.

Having gained fame in Europe as a playmaker for Juventus, Zidane attracted worldwide attention in the 1998 World Cup final with two headed goals against Brazil which won his country its first FIFA World Cup. He also contributed to France's victory in Euro 2000, and at the club level he went on to win domestic championships in Italy and Spain with Juventus and Real Madrid respectively. In the final of the 2001-02 UEFA Champions League he scored the winning goal for Real Madrid. At the 2006 FIFA World Cup, he was named "Most Outstanding Player" of the tournament, receiving the Golden Ball, captaining the French side that reached the final. However, Zidane's career ended in controversy when in his final match he was dismissed in extra-time of the 2006 World Cup Final for headbutting Italian defender Marco Materazzi.

Zidane was elected FIFA World Player of the Year a record-equalling three times (1998, 2000, 2003), finished in the top-three an additional three times (1997, 2002, 2006). He was also named European Footballer of the Year in 1998. The world-record fee of €66 million (US$87 million, £47 million) for his transfer to Real Madrid in 2001 is the highest ever paid. In 2004, he topped the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll as the "Best European football player of the past 50 years", and was included in the FIFA 100, Pelé's list of the 125 greatest living footballers.

Zidane's name is of Arabic origin (Algerian Arabic: Zīn ad-Dīn Yazīd Zīdān, Arabic: زين الدين يزيد زيدان, transliteration: Zayn-u-Dīn Yazīd Zaydān). Zinédine translates to "the beauty of the religion" (Arabic Zayn-u-Dīn—from zayn, "beauty", and dīn, "religion; faith"). Yazid is a boy's name, sometimes spelled Yazeed (Arabic Yazīd, "one who increases, becoming greater"). Zidane is expressing the overabundance of something that the bearer of name is said to possess, such as talent (Arabic Zaydān—from zayd, "overabundant", and an, "two"). The nickname Zizou was given to Zidane by coach Rolland Courbis while Zidane played for Girondins de Bordeaux. Yaz is the nickname given to him by his brothers and used by his family and close friends.

On 7 May 2006, Zidane played his last home game for Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium. His team-mates wore special jerseys that had ZIDANE 2001–2006 written on the bottom of the club logo. The Real Madrid fans gave him a warm reception and kept cheering him throughout the game. The opposing team was Villarreal CF, and the game ended in a 3-3 draw, where he scored the second goal for Real Madrid. After the game, Zidane swapped jerseys with Juan Román Riquelme, the Villarreal CF and Argentinean midfielder. Zidane was given an ovation by spectators chanting "merci", which left him in tears.


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