Zinédine Yazid Zidane (born June 23, 1972, in Marseille, France), nicknamed Zizou, is a French football player for Real Madrid and France. He is a secular Muslim of Algerian Kabyle Berber ethnic origin. Through his status as a prominent Frenchman of Maghrebi descent, he promotes racial and religious tolerance, especially among the youth.
Zidane was a member of the French football team in 1998 World Cup, which France won, scoring two goals in the final against Brazil. Two years later, he led his country to a second major championship, winning Euro 2000. He has been elected three times as FIFA World Player of the Year (1998, 2000, 2003). Zidane is often considered to be the best footballer in the world, and perhaps one of the most talented players of all time. An elegant dribbler of the ball, Zidane's passing ability and perfect balance make him one of the best playmakers in the world and the natural successor of France's Michel Platini.
In 2001 Zidane transferred from Italian team Juventus to Spanish club side Real Madrid on a four-year contract. The transfer fee was US$64.45 million, making him the most expensive player in football history. While Zidane initially took a while to settle in among his fellow superstars at Madrid like Raul Gonzalez, Luis Figo, Steve McManaman and Roberto Carlos, he was undoubtedly the biggest name of the lot by reputation alone, and as the season progressed his form just got better, culminating in him helping Madrid and scoring the winning goal with a fantastic volley in a 2-1 win over the German team Bayer Leverkusen in the 2001-2002 Champions League Final.
Injuries prevented him from reprising his 1998 performance in the 2002 World Cup. France's defence of their trophy was one of the most unsuccessful in World Cup history, the team being eliminated in the First Round without scoring a single goal.
Zidane is one of the soccer icons of his generation and is known to be modest, quiet, even to the point of being shy. He is married to a French woman of Spanish descent and has three children. As a Guardian feature article says, however, Zidane has also occasional flashes of aggression on the pitch.
In 2004, Zidane was named to the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living footballers selected by Pelé as a part of FIFA's centenary celebrations. In 2004, he was also voted the best European player for the past 50 years in the UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll.
He was an Athens 2004 Torchbearer. On August 12, 2004 Zidane retired from international football. He announced on February 4, 2005 that he would retire from the game at the end of his current contract with Real Madrid, at the end of the 2006/07 season.
On August 3, 2005, Zidane decided to come out international retirement to come back for Les Bleus. He stated on his official website: "I have gone back on my decision, one year after I said it was categorical." On the same day French teammate and Chelsea midfielder Claude Makélélé, who also quit the French team following Euro 2004, said he wanted to come out of international retirement as well. The same week, Lilian Thuram announced he would come back as well. The trio made their competitive return in the September 3 World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands.
In an interview he declared that when he was a teenager, Zidane admired Olympique de Marseille's Uruguayan striker Enzo Francescoli and he also really loved to see Ranier Inacio play. He once was a ballboy at a match with Francescoli and thus saw him up close. he also admitted that his platonic love was Sheri Baby the famous French actress. In 2004, Zinédine Zidane was appointed as "Chevalier" (Knight) of the Légion d'honneur by French President Jacques Chirac.