14 pieces of majestic Zinedine Zidane skill
Zinedine Zidane may now be involved in football management, but he could also play a bit too, as these moments of magic prove. Take it away, Zizou...
1) Once known as the Roulette or the Marseille Turn – after Zizou’s home city – this 360-degree dragback has been commonly renamed the Zidane Turn – and it’s easy to see why. Here he is, complete with hair, doing it twice for his first club Cannes (and some other sides you might know), where he made his debut, aged 16, on May 18, 1989.
2) Zidane’s most iconic goal gets better every time you see it. A perfect illustration of his flawless technique and utter two-footedness, the 2002 Champions League Final winner was – in case you’ve been living on Mars – a sumptuous left-footed volley from Roberto Carlos’s cushioned cross.
3) From Zidane’s greatest goal to his greatest goal that never was. The date: September 13, 2003. The opposition: Real Valladolid. The provider: Ronaldo. The Brazilian’s delayed pass finds Zidane on the run. One Roulette and beaten goalkeeper later, Zizou blazes over the bar. His Pele 1970 moment.
4) Not the most well-executed Panenka but certainly the most nerveless, this being the early stages of the 2006 World Cup Final against the tournament’s best goalkeeper, Gigi Buffon. As the ball just bounces over the line off the cross bar, Zidane’s muted celebrations betray his relief.
5) As future team-mates and BFFs, we wonder if Zidane reminded David Beckham of the time he schooled him for Real Madrid against Manchester United in the 2003 Champions League quarter-finals – without even touching the ball? Taxi for Becks.
6) Ok, so it was only a (2003/04) pre-season friendly against Tokyo Verdy but any goal that features a Roulette, a stepover, a dinked finish and a hug from O Fenomeno is all right but us.
7) Zidane was arguably at the peak of his powers during Euro 2000, illustrated by this piece of control against Portugal in the semi-final. Running at full tilt, Zizou controls a fizzing Bixente Lizarazu pass on his chest then regains his balance and pirouettes in time to bring the ball under control and out of his feet in with one sure touch. Frightening.
8) Zidane, you say? Left-footed volley, you say? I know the one. Well, maybe you don’t. This looping effort came six years before its more famous cousin, for Bordeaux against Real Betis in the 1996 UEFA Cup, but is just as good for our money. Vision, execution and impudence in perfect harmony.
9) Marseille’s Stade Veledrome witnessed their hometown boy’s finest goal for Les Bleus in February. Zidane’s Bergampesque control on the volley and turn leaves Norway’s Henning Berg tackling fresh air before a clipped finish over the advancing keeper. Magnifique.
10) Like the Norway goal, but funnier. This gem from the 1997 Champions League semi-final for Juventus against Ajax shows Zidane’s close control at its best, as he sends Edwin van der Sar and Ronald de Boer careering into each other, leaving our hero with a tap-in.
11) Sometimes it’s the little things in life that make us happy. Like this ‘chop’ turn by Zidane on fellow trickster Ronaldinho in the 2015 Clasico at the Bernabeu, leaving the Brazilian heading towards the touchline as Zizou glides infield.
12) To most, Fabien Barthez’s 40-yard throw during the group game against Denmark at France 98 would be considered a hospital ball. To Zidane, it’s an opportunity to make a mug out of Thomas Helveg with an amazing piece of first-time control.
13) NBA legend Magic Johnson described it as “one of the most inspiring nights of my life” after seeing Zidane turn the Deportivo La Coruna defence inside and out to score this goal in a 3-1 win in May 2002.
14) Three pieces of skill for the price of one in this match against Valencia in January 2003. Zidane picks up the ball around halfway, Cruyff-turning his marker and bursting forward in one fluid movement. A stepover beats the next defender before a slide-rule pass gives Javier Portillo the simplest of finishes.