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Zidane's Legacy: A True Icon of The Beautiful Game

Zidane's career as a football manager achieved the impossible, surpassing his stellar career as a footballer who started life in one of the poorest suburbs of Marseille.

Zinedine Zidane is one of the most iconic figures in world football. As a player, he was a fearless, often intimidating midfielder who led his teams to victory at the highest level. As a manager, he has continued to achieve success, winning three consecutive Champions League titles with Real Madrid.

Early Life and Career

Of Algerian origin, Zidane was born and raised in Marseille, France, in a part of the city where racial unrest and poverty were commonplace. Growing up in a multicultural household, Zidane played his football on the streets; the same starting point for many French team players, including Samir Nasri, Boubacar Kamara and Théo Hernandez.

His unwavering passion for football, honed through hours of relentless practice, propelled him forward, leading him to join local clubs and catch the attention of scouts.

Rise to Stardom

In 1989, Zidane joined the professional team Cannes at the age of 17, and he quickly made his way to the top of the game. He moved to Juventus in 1996, where he won two Serie A titles and the Champions League in 1998. He was also awared the FIFA World Player of the Year three times, cementing his status as one of the greatest footballers of his generation. In 1998, he was awarded the prestigious Ballon D’Or.

In 2001, he moved to Real Madrid for a world-record fee of £70 million. He won two La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey titles, and the Champions League in 2002.

Zidane's Impact on French Football

It was during this time that his impact on the French national team was at its peak, with France enjoying success at the 1996 Euros, the 1998 World Cup and the 2000 Euros.

Known for keeping a cool head on the pitch, Zidane's playing career was only truly marred by a moment of controversy during the 2006 FIFA World Cup final. Playing against Italy, he infamously received a red card for head-butting an opponent. Out of character for Zidane to lose his cool, he was still awarded the Player of The Tournament award.

Zidane's Champions League Success

Following his retirement from professional football in 2006, Zidane took a hiatus before embarking on a new chapter as a football manager. He started his coaching career at Real Madrid's youth academy, moving up to manage the reserve team, where he honed his skills under the watchful guidance of main team manager Carlo Ancelotti. Zidane's profound understanding of the game, combined with his ability to motivate and inspire, led to his appointment as the manager of Real Madrid's first team in 2016.

He led Real Madrid to three consecutive Champions League titles from 2016 to 2018. This feat had never been achieved before or since. Zidane's tactical acumen, man-management skills, and ability to handle high-pressure situations earned him the respect of players and fans alike.

In 2018, he left the club, before returning for another managerial stint at Real Madrid between 2019-2021, where the club won another La Liga title and that season’s Spanish Supercup. It’s little wonder he is considered one of football's greatest ever managers.

Zidane's Retirement and Legacy

Zidane retired from football management in 2021. He is currently a brand ambassador for French Formula One team, Alpine. He has also expressed an interest in returning to management, and he has been linked with a number of high-profile jobs, with PSG, Marseille, Manchester United and Juventus all potentially interesting in giving him the manager role.

His name is also often raised in conversation about future managerial role in charge of the French national team.

It is certainly not the last that the footballing world has seen of Zinedine Zidane. It's just a question of the right place, at the right time.

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We are big believers that you should be able to design a life you love and not stick to a linear path, especially when it comes to your career choices. In fact, we'd go as far to say that the concept of retirement in its current form needs to be retired. Yes, that's right, there's no rulebook here!