16 years after retiring, many fans are still appreciating the absolute wonder that was Zinedine Zidane on a football pitch. The former France International is widely regarded as one of the all-time greats, leading his country to World Cup and Euro glory. He scored twice in the 1998 world cup final to sink Brazil and earn his country the World Cup trophy for the first time in their history.
He sent them back to the final 8 years later, as he captained the side to an incredible final appearance in the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. During the tournament he had already announced his retirement from football, meaning his last game in the World Cup would be his last in football. This did not affect his concentration, however, as he rolled back the years to put on one of the great tournament performances, winning the Golden Ball as the best player in the entire tournament.
He also increased the legend of “Zizou” in the final, scoring an outrageous Panenka penalty before being send off in Extra Time for headbutting Italian defender Marco Materrazzi. The image of him walking past the famous World Trophy as he left the pitch was iconic, especially after France lost to Italy on penalties as the game tied 1-1.
Since then, fans and players alike have realised just how good Zidane was. Now considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, he has also become one of the top managers in the world, winning three champions leagues and two league titles as manager of Real Madrid.
Here are some quotes from some of the all-time great footballers about how Zinedine Zidane is the greatest footballer of all time.
Zinedine Zidane Quotes
Here are just some quotes from some of the greatest footballers who ever lived, stating why they think that Zinedine Zidane is the greatest footballer to ever live.
AC Milan Legend 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.”
Balon D’or Winner Marco Van Basten – “He played like a ‘general’ in midfield. He has technique, tricks, passing and also has an ability to score some of the best goals.”
German World Cup Winner Franz Beckenbauer – “Zidane is one of the greatest players in history, a truly magnificent player.”
Former Manchester United Goalkeeper Fabien Barthez – “For me, he’s the greatest player of the century. The best player of all time.”
Manchester United’s Treble Winning Midfielder 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.”
Brazil World Cup Winner Ronaldinho – “Zidane is one of the best footballers of all time, one of my idols. He had such elegance and grace, a wonderful touch and superb vision.”
Iconic Swedish Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic – “When Zidane stepped onto the pitch, the 10 other guys just got suddenly better. It is that simple. It was magic. He was a unique player. He was more than good, he came from another planet. His team-mates became like him when he was on the pitch.”
Real Madrid Legend Alfredo Di Stefano – “He dominates the ball, he is a walking spectacle and he plays as if he had silk gloves on each foot. He makes it worthwhile going to the stadium – he’s one of the best I have ever seen.”
England Legend David Beckham – “To train with Zidane for three years was a dream. For me, he is the greatest player of all time.”
Balon D’or Winner Kevin Keegan – “What a player. Very difficult to play against, someone you can’t get the ball off. You never know where he is. To have played with somebody like that would have been great. If I had to choose somebody, it would be him.”
13 Time Premier League Winner Ryan Giggs – “He is the best player I’ve seen. [ . . ] Zizou had something apart. Playing alongside him was a crazy thing! Supporters arrived earlier at the Bernabeu just to see him warm-up!”
Thierry Henry, before the 2006 World Cup – “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.”
Dutch Legend Edgar Davids –“The best player was Zinedine Zidane – he was so hard to tackle, so clever with the ball and so fast. He was one of the best.”
Three Time World Cup Winner Pele – “Zidane is the master. Over the past 10 years there’s been no-one like him, he has been the best player in the world.”
France Legend Michel Platini – “I think Zidane is the greatest talent we’ve known in football these last 20 years, yet he never played the prima donna. I am honoured to have been his manager.”
Brazil Legend Ronaldo – “Zidane, technically, was really the best.”
Marcel Desailly, France World Cup Winner – “Zidane, Zidane, Zidane … France was in the grip of ‘zizoumania’. I never imagined it could grow to such proportions. Sometimes I asked myself if one human could withstand such passion. And did he, in any case, quite resist it? At the start of the tournament we found him a little febrile, more stretched, more demanding than usual, at least on the pitch. That febrility culminated in his expulsion against Saudi Arabia. And after a moment of depression, he reacted like a champion and started to prepare himself for the quarter-final.”
Glenn Hoddle – “I don’t need to say anything about Zinedine Zidane. You have seen it all for yourself. The man is a simply brilliant player, who can do anything he wants on the pitch. He can score goals and make them. He is the one player who could play in any team and in any position. I feel lucky to have shared a pitch with him many times.”
Dutch Legend Ruud Gullit – “A special player. When we look back, he’ll be up there with Maradona and Pele as one of the world’s greats. He’s in that bracket. When you play against a player like that, you have to concentrate all the time because he’s got such great feet around the box, but after the game, you just think, “Wow, what a great player.” It was a privilege to play against him.”
England and Manchester United Record Goal Scorer Wayne Rooney – The best player of our generation in my opinion. People talk about the likes of Maradona and Pele, but they were a long time ago and I think Zidane is certainly up there with them.”
What do you think about these quotes? Is Zinedine Zidane the greatest footballer of all time?
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.