On Thursday, Zinedine Zidane turned 50. The Frenchman has gained a lot of fans as he approaches the half-century mark.
He is, after all, among the greatest players and coaches in football history. During his illustrious playing career, Zidane won the World Cup, the Euros, the Champions League, La Liga, Serie A (twice), and the Ballon d’Or. He became the first coach in history to win three straight European Cups while in charge of Real Madrid.
Here, Mirror Football examines the quotes made by footballing greats regarding Zidane throughout the years, including one from Pele.
The late, great Alfredo Di Stefano is likened to by few. The five-time European Cup champion, who died away in 2014, served as honorary president of Real Madrid for 14 years and welcomed new recruits, such as Zidane, to the club.
After a five-year playing career that included a memorable volley in the Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen in May 2002, and two trophy-laden managerial tenures, the Frenchman joined Di Stefano in the pantheon of Real heroes.
Zidane, according to Di Stefano, is the player who most closely resembles himself. “He moves similarly when running and employs some comparable tactics. I moved a bit more quickly than he does. He possessed the ball with dominance, he has a flair for the dramatic, and he has a glove on his foot.”
The renowned Swede seldom submits to greatness, but when asked for his opinion on Zidane, he was more than eager to give it. Ibrahimovic said that the other 10 players “simply got better immediately” when Zidane entered the field.
“That’s how easy it is. Magic existed. He stood out as a player. He was not just excellent, but also extraterrestrial. When he went on the field, his teammates started to act like him.”
Brazilian icon Ronaldinho One of the most exciting athletes to ever play the game, Ronaldinho looks to have been motivated by Zidane to succeed.
The Ballon d’Or winner described Zidane as “one of the greatest footballers of all time” and “one of my inspirations.” “He had such grace and elegance, a lovely touch, and an exceptional vision.”
Pele, a three-time World Cup champion, is regarded as the best player in history by some analysts. He feels Zidane was the star of the late 1990s and early 2000s and was undoubtedly the dominant force in his generation between the mid-fifties and the mid-seventies.
Pele famously remarked that Zidane was the maestro. He has been the top player in the world for the previous ten years; there has never been anyone like him.
The former England captain, who spent three years on Zidane’s team at Real Madrid, is well aware of the quality of the player. Beckham was recently questioned by Gary Neville about the finest player he had shared the field with.
His response? Naturally, Zidane. Three years of training with Zidane was a dream, according to Beckham. He is the best player ever, in my opinion.
Zidane excelled off the field as well. During his first stint in command of Real between January 2016 and May 2018, he pulled the best out of Ronaldo, enabling him to record 137 club goals in three seasons. During that time, he twice won the Ballon d’Or.
The confidence a player requires, according to Ronaldo, “comes not just from himself, but also from the guys surrounding him and the coach.” “You need to feel valued as a member of the team, and Zidane gave me that feeling.
“He was a huge assistance to me. Working with him increased my regard for him, which I already had a lot. That is due to his personality, the way he spoke, the way he led the squad, and the way he treated me.
“”Cris, relax and just play your game. You are the one who is going to make the difference,” he would advise me. I will always have a genuine fondness for him since he was always honest with me.”