La Roulette - Zinedine Zidane
We've discussed the exuberant step-over, the breathtakingly fluid elastico, the effective two-touch dribble and the flashy rabona, and some of the greatest players to have executed those moves.
However, if there was ever a move to top the list of the most elegant and awe-inspiring maneuvers that have been carried out on a football pitch, it would have to be La Roulette, or the Marseille turn.
Er, a correction: the most spectacular dribble is Zinedine Zidane's La Roulette in particular.
While Thierry Henry, Luis Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka have all used the move in recent years, the two players who made the move famous were Diego Maradona and Zidane. Maradona's graceful executions of the dribble have even led to it being popularly christened "the Maradona Spin", but if the marseille turn really gained a treasured place in the locker of every fan of The Beautiful Game when Zidane used it almost effortlessly, and on a regular basis, over the course of his stunning career.
The move is so popular around the globe that it has been given many connotations, each with its own history and meaning. It is called the 360 for obvious reasons, but a rather more interesting name is "Gringo", a word with racial backgrounds that South American players would shout at their opponents while performing the trick. It is also called the Rolie Polie, and the Piroman.
Getting into the technicalities would require a lot more time than either you or I have on our hands right now, so the best thing to do would be to watch the following video of a three-and-something minute-long candid conversation with the maestro himself, Zinedine Zidane, as he eloquently sifts through the nitty-gritties of the move that many of us associate with him. You could scour YouTube for tutorial videos to learn how to do a passable roulette, but what better way to learn it than from the master himself? But be careful; as Zidane stresses, you could end up looking rather silly if you fail to pull it off like he did!
Another superb video that no one should miss out on is this one. A fantastic recording of a conversation between Zidane and Ronaldo soon after the Brazilian had joined Real Madrid, it contains a few lines by Ronaldo on Zidane and his execution of La Roulette.
Although you are strongly advised to watch the whole video, you can forward to 3:12 of the video to listen to Ronaldo's take on Zidane's ability to perform the trick under the pressure of two defenders fast approaching. Considering that Zidane has never hesitated to label Ronaldo the best player he has played with or against, it says a lot about the Frenchman that Ronaldo was so effusive in his praise for Zizou.
For those who did not watch the aforementioned video in its entirety, it also contains a few lines by Zidane about Ronaldo's elastico trick against Nesta that was mentioned earlier in this article!