Zinedine Zidane is widely regarded to be one of the best players ever lived.
His elegance, gracefulness and downright genius meant that watching him was when football truly became an artform.
A serial winner, Zizou won everything that there was to win in the game with both club and country. He won the Ballon d’Or in 1998 and is a three time Fifa Men’s Player of the Year winner.
But aside from everything he achieved in football, fans will always remember the silky Frenchman for one key attribute – his first-touch.
Like a gift given to him from the gods, Zidane had the ability to make any pass look inch perfect. Generational talents always excel in certain areas, Ronaldinho had his tricks, Andrea Pirlo and Xavi Hernandez had their passing, Zidane… his was his first-touch.
Sit back and enjoy this video of Zidane’s magical ball control shared by Twitter user: @90’s football, it really is a thing of beauty:
Zizou's first touch! pic.twitter.com/XBguiY3OqZ— 90s Football (@90sfootball) April 11, 2022
Stat merchants nowadays will never understand the calibre of player this man was but that doesn’t mean he’s underappreciated. Many legends have weighed in over the years with their feelings on Zidane’s place amongst the footballing greats:
Peter Drury: “How can you not love Messi and how can you not love Ronaldo but if you’re pinning me down, I am going Zidane. What he couldn’t do with a football isn’t worth knowing about.”
David Beckham: “To train with Zidane for three years was dream. For me, he is the greatest player of all-time.”
Paul Scholes: “To see Zidane in action was to witness poetry in motion. The skills, the vision, the goals… he was a sublime performer. When he was at his peak, winning the World Cup, the Champions League and all the rest, he was unquestionably the finest player on the planet.”
Thierry Henry: “In France, everybody realised that God exists, and that he is back in the French international team. God is back, there is little left to say.”
Franco Baresi: “He was as elegant as a dancer – he even used the soles of his boots efficiently. Everything was easy for him; he made such movements that if I tried to copy them I would break my legs.”
What a player, scoring a Panenka against Gianluigi Buffon in the World Cup final and then headbutting Marco Materazzi was a fitting way to end an illustrious career.
One of the coldest ballers to ever do it, this one’s for you, Zizou.