Zinedine Yazid Zidane born 23 June 1972 in Marseille), popularly nicknamed Zizou, is a French former football midfielder. He played professionally in France, Italy, and Spain, and was a member of the French national team. His career accomplishments include helping France win the 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000, in addition to winning the 2002 UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid.
One of only two three-time FIFA World Player of the Year winners (Ronaldo being the other), he was also named the European Footballer of the Year in 1998. He retired from professional football after the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
He earned his first cap with France as a substitute in a friendly against the Czech Republic on 17 August 1994, which ended in a 2-2 draw after Zidane scored twice to help France erase a 2-0 deficit. After Eric Cantona was handed a year-long suspension in January 1995 for assaulting a fan, Zidane took over the playmaker position. France were eliminated in the Euro 1996 semifinals in a penalty shootout by the Czech Republic after the match ended 0-0 in extra time.
He won the 1998 World Cup with France, scoring twice in the final.
Zidane finished with two goals as France won Euro 2000, becoming the first team to hold both the World Cup and the European Championship since West Germany in 1974. A thigh injury prevented Zidane from playing in France's first two matches in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. He rushed back prematurely for the third game despite not being fully fit, but could not prevent France from being ignominiously eliminated in the group stage without scoring a single goal.
On 12 June 2004, after France were eliminated in the Euro 2004 quarterfinals by eventual winners Greece, Zidane retired from international football. However, at the urging of coach Raymond Domenech and seeing France struggle to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, Zidane came out of retirement and was immediately reinstated as team captain. He made his competitive return in a 3-0 win over the Faroe Islands on 3 September 2005, as France went on to win their qualifying group.
On 27 May 2006, Zidane earned his hundredth cap for France in a 1-0 friendly win over Mexico, becoming France's fourth player ever to reach this milestone, after Marcel Desailly, Didier Deschamps and Lilian Thuram. He was substituted early in the second half.
At the 2006 World Cup, he wore special Adidas Golden Predator football boots, made as a tribute as this World Cup contained his last matches as a football player. After being suspended on yellow cards from the final match of the group stage, Zidane set up a goal for Patrick Vieira and scored one himself in the 91st minute of the second round match against Spain. As France held Brazil to just one shot on goal in the rematch of the 1998 WC finalists, Zidane's free kick led to Thierry Henry's
deciding goal, sealing a 1-0 win. Zidane was named Man of the Match by FIFA.
After scoring a seventh-minute penalty in the final, Zidane became only the fourth player in World Cup history to score in two different finals, along with Pelé, Paul Breitner, and Vavá, in addition to being tied for first place with Vavá, Pelé and Geoff Hurst with three WC final goals apiece. However, he was sent off in the 110th minute with the match tied 1-1, and did not participate in the penalty shootout, which Italy won 5-3. Despite his red card and the controversy that followed, Zidane was nonetheless awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the competition.