Zizou…The Greatest of all Time

When the subject of the greatest footballer of all time crops up, people are usually divided between Pelé and Maradona. But growing up in the 90’s and having nothing but grainy videotapes too watch of these two South American giants, I can’t really choose which of the two were greater. For one, they plied thier trade in different eras of the game, and secondly, while Maradona showcased his talents in Europe for a chunk of his career, Pelé did not. This suggests that they each had to strive under different conditions and different styles of football (one cannot deny that there are vast differences between the South American game and the European game).  For me, the greatest footballer of all time is Zinedine Zidane. He was the reason why I fell in love with the sport, and in my opinion, he should be remembered in the same breath as Pelé and Maradona.
I was only 10 years old when he scored those two amazing headers in the 1998 World Cup Final against Brazil. Two years later he dazzled the world in EURO 2000, and picked up the Player of the Tournament award. He joined Real Madrid in 2001 from Juventus for the then world record of €78 million. He proved his worth by scoring a left foot stunner of a goal in the Champions League final 2002. Having won all the top honours at an international level (FIFA World Cup 1998, EURO 2000) and several individual honours, he announced his retirement from international football following France’s disapponting EURO 2004.

….Above: Zidane’s left foot, volley in the champions League Final 2002….
…Below… FIFA World Footballer of the Year..3 times…

He was convinced out of retirement by French coach Raymongd Domenech. He then worked his magic through the 2006 World Cup to help France reach the final.  I’ll never forget how he tore apart Brazilian and Spanish defenses with ease! People compared him to a “ballerina,” which may seem like a bizzare comparision to make to a 1.85m (6ft 1in) man, but its true! He had a certain grace about him. Once in possesion, defenders had a hard time getting the ball off him. Not only because it seemed as though the ball was attached to his foot, but also because he was a very big, bulky guy. Physically difficult to tackle or bring down. He was the perfect footballer.
Regarless of how his career ended (The headbutting incident and sendoff), he won everything there was to win at an international, club and personal level. He delivered on the worlds biggest stages, on the grandest of occasions, against the fiercest of rivals- world cup finals, champions league finals etc. He was a matchwinner. So, when people ask me who I think is the greatest footballer of all time, I am not divided on that issue, for me there is only one: ZIZOU
                                                                          
                                           
….Zizou with the World Cup and EURO Cup….

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    • magician10 on September 14, 2009 at 11:23 pm
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    I agree. I was 11 in 1998 and so I have the same image of Pele and Maradona as you have. I grew up with Zidane and I started loving football because of him. And he amazed me again and again. I don't think much of this "best player ever" tag. I think everybody has his own "best player ever" and to me it will always be Zidane.

    • Sundar on June 13, 2010 at 10:06 am
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    Yes …..True..Zizou is the best ever guy in the modern era…We really miss you this year for Frence…France keep doing well & you deserve to be champions last year if the head butt would not have happened.. Come on guys….!!! All the best!!

    • Rajesh Gokarn on June 13, 2010 at 4:46 pm
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    Never seen Pele play…I grew up watching the 1986 world cup and had seen Maradona in that World Cup. He was a magacian with the ball. The best and the worst goal both came from him in the game against England. Onfield he was the best you can see.

    • rajeev on June 13, 2010 at 5:54 pm
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    I to agree with u, Zidane is da best and all time greats of football history.

    • Adam Kerbay on September 8, 2010 at 8:46 pm
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    Zizou brings joy to the game. He is the only of his kind. He is god of modern football. He is unique and certainly Zizou is the greatest of ALL TIMES!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Yup, I agree! Apparently his son, Enzo, is turning out to be a pretty awesome footballer too!

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