Zinedine Zidane

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Zinedine Yazid Zidane (French pronunciation: ​[zinedin zidan], born 23 June 1972) is a French assistant coach and sporting director at Real Madrid and a retiredfootballer who played as an attacking midfielder for the French national team, Juventus and Real Madrid. Zidane was named best European footballer of the past 50 years by UEFA, and has been described as one of the greatest players in the history of the game.

At club level Zidane won La Liga and the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid, two Serie A league championships with Juventus and an Intercontinental Cupand a UEFA Super Cup each with both aforementioned sides. On the international stage Zidane won 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000 with France.

Amongst his personal accolades Zidane has won the FIFA World Player of the Year three times, and the Ballon D’Or once. He was Ligue 1 Player of the Year in 1996,Serie A Footballer of the Year in 2001 and La Liga Best Foreign Player in 2002. He was awarded the Euro 2000 Player of the tournament and the 2006 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball. He retired from professional football after the 2006 World Cup.

Zidane is of Algerian Kabyle Berber descent. His parents, Smaïl and Malika, emigrated to Paris from the village of Aguemoune in the Berber-speaking region ofKabylie in northern Algeria in 1953 before the start of the Algerian War. The family, which had settled in the city’s tough northern districts of Barbès and Saint-Denis, found little work in the region, and in the mid-1960s moved to the northern Marseille suburb of La Castellane. On 23 June 1972, Zidane was born there as the youngest of five siblings. His father Smaïl worked as a warehouseman at a department store, often on the night shift, while his mother was a housewife. The family live a reasonably comfortable life by the standards of the neighborhood, which was notorious throughout Marseille for its high crime and unemployment rates.

It was in La Castellane that Zidane had his earliest introduction to football, joining in at the age of five in football games that the neighbourhood’s children played on the Place Tartane, an 80-by-12-yard plaza that served as the main square of the housing complex. In July 2011, Zidane named former Olympique Marseille players Blaž Slišković, Enzo Francescoli and Jean-Pierre Papin as his idols while growing up .

At the age of ten, Zidane got his first player’s license after joining the junior team of a local club from La Castellane by the name of US Saint-Henri. After spending a year and a half at US Saint-Henri, Zidane joined SO Septèmes-les-Vallons when the Septèmes coach Robert Centenero convinced the club’s Director to get Zidane.

Zidane stayed with Septèmes until the age of fourteen, at which time he was selected to attend a three-day training camp at the CREPS (Regional Centre for Sports and Physical Education) in Aix-en-Provence, one of several such footballing institutes run by the French Football Federation. It was here that Zidane was spotted by AS Cannes scout Jean Varraud who recommended him to the training center director of the club.