There were few footballers that better epitomised “The beautiful game” than Zinedine Zidane did.
The French superstar was one of those once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list players that every fan across the globe would’ve loved to have seen live at least once.
It was like the ball was glued to his feet at times – that was until he decided to pass it in a way that no the midfield magician has ever quite matched.
On top of the fact that that he could dribble through an entire team, land the ball on a penny with just about each and every pass, the man also possessed a quite ruthless eye for a finish.
He truly was the complete package and we could spend an age rattling on about some of his greatest ever goals.
However, sadly, we don’t have an age so we thought we would look back on just one of his more ‘forgotten’ efforts.
That doesn’t make it any less impressive, though. Just ask basketball legend Magic Johnson.
Back in 2001, with Deportivo top of the league, Zidane took matters by the scruff of the neck as he went on one of his iconically mythical rampages of skill and guile.
With Johnson watching on from the stands, Zidane produced a sublime bit of skill to send the entire opposition this way and that, opened up a chasm at the back and lashed home to finish.
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The raucous celebrations inside the Santiago Bernabeu spoke more highly of the goal than any commentator ever could, with each and every fan in attendance well aware they had just witnessed something special.
Johnson, who was in Spain for an exhibition basketball game, knew he was in the presence of genius as he watched Zidane.
In fact, per a report in Planet Football, Johnson was heard to have said that Zidane was:
“As good as Magic and Michael Jordan put together.”
Now that is high praise indeed.
It’s not wrong either. Zidane was so elusive at his peak, so graceful and yet so merciless that, even in a team packed to the rafters with global superstars, he easily shone the brightest.
Even after hanging up his boots Zidane was still smashing though the glass ceiling at Madrid.
As manager, he lead the club to an unprecedented hat-trick of Champions League triumphs in an age of dominance that may not be replicated for a very long time.