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Analysis: Determining how great Zidane was as a player

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In an attempt to shed some light into his greatness as a player, we will try to determine just how great Zidane was during his prime.

Zinedine Zidane is often considered one of the best players in football history, but the younger generations forget he was even a player. The Real Madrid manager accomplished what no other coach in football ever did in the past. He is the first man who won three consecutive UEFA Champions League titles as a manager.

He also won a dominating La Liga title during the 2016-17 season against one of the most competitive Barcelona sides in recent history. All this is well for the younger football fans who support Real Madrid. But what if I told you that Zidane is in fact an all-time Top 10 best player in football history? Would you believe it if that was the case?

The level of game he performed on the pitch was something that I’ve personally never experienced before. Zidane elevated the game to an artistic level that very few players in the world can reach. This man played football as an auteur would perform his music or write his poetry.

When you saw him play football from a distance, you immediately knew who was caressing the ball. Zidane had a unique style of play that no other player ever had before. 

Comparisons with Ronaldinho. 

Although Zidane is older than Ronaldinho, he was always compared to him because they played the same position on the pitch. One was one of Barcelona’s biggest legends from the new millennium. The other one is arguably the most important figure in Real Madrid’s history during the Florentino Perez era.

But both are considered magicians with the ball at their feet, and both of them have their unique brand of game. When you saw them perform on the pitch, it was almost as if you could do the things they did. They both made it look easy, but Zidane had more cadence compared to Ronaldinho’s lightning speed.

Contrary to the Brazilian’s fast-paced flicks and tricks, Zidane almost stopped time when he had the ball. Every long pass he received, every step over he made were all meticulous. When he had the ball, everything went slower on the pitch.

There was also a sensation that the rest of his teammates became better players with him on the pitch. Few footballers in history have this capability to make a whole squad play as they wanted. 

Zidane’s extensive CV. 

In matter of accomplishments, Zidane won everything that any European footballer would dream of throughout his career. His adventure started at Juventus when the Italian club signed him from Bordeaux. As a Bianconeri, ‘Zizou’ learned the feeling of winning a league title. But he also learned what it felt like to lose a continental final.

The man lost two consecutive UEFA Champions League finals. But his first revenge came when he represented his country, as he led France to a historic World Cup trophy in 1998. After this success, ‘Zizou’ also won the UEFA Euro 2000 and became a worldwide phenomenon. He was finally ready to play for the biggest club in football history.

Real Madrid was where he touched the stars in the UEFA Champions League, with that unforgettable 2002 volley during the final. It’s not about the many trophies he won, it’s about the game he developed over the years during his prime. In the most Zidane fashion, he decided to retire under his own terms and at the top of his game in 2006.

We all know the stories of that World Cup final against Italy and the boss way in which he left the pitch that evening. ‘Zizou’ may have lost that trophy, but he retired as the best player in the world. We mustn’t forget what he did on the pitch. Even if he also wins everything as a manager. 

What’s your favorite Zinedine Zidane memory as a player? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.