It’s been a total of 13 years since Zinedine Zidane played his very last match as a professional player, and what a way to say goodbye to his career.
Zinedine Zidane remains as one of the professional footballers with the most incredible careers in history, he played his last match exactly 13 years ago.
The French Real Madrid coach truly was one of the best players who ever lived, he was the natural heir of Michel Platini and he even improved the legacy that Juventus legend left behind.
‘Zizou’ truly had it all when he was in his prime but he was actually a late bloomer, he didn’t really begin making the headlines until he was well past his 25 years.
Unlike other great legends such as Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, Pele, or Cristiano Ronaldo, Zidane wasn’t a young prodigy.
The Marseille native did begin taking his biggest steps as a professional when he played at Juventus, but he didn’t become one of the best in the world until 1998.
In reality, Zidane was great for both his club and country but he became a deity when he played for France.
The man won back-to-back championships in 1998 and 2000, he led Les Bleus to those titles with his elegant style of play and then moved on to drop his best years as a player when he was at Real Madrid.
There was a time between 2001 and 2006 when people paid their ticket just to watch Zidane, the fans loved other players like Ronaldo or Raul but Zidane was the one who truly made them gasp.
13 years ago today: Zidane's infamous headbutt in the World Cup final 💥
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 9, 2019
The final years of ‘Zizou’.
By the time the 2004 European Championship came and Ronaldinho took Zidane’s place as the world’s greatest magician, we could all feel the end was coming.
We had a man who had literally won every single trophy but he was frustrated with his last two performances with France.
The 2002 and 2004 competitions left him with a nasty aftertaste, he wanted to leave his last great performance in the next tournament.
That place would have to be Germany, the 2006 World Cup would be his stage.
Everybody expected Ronaldinho to deliver a sixth star for Brazil but he was nowhere to be seen in that tournament, that’s when a 34-year old ‘Zizou’ decided to take the stage.
We were in for arguably one of the best World Cup performances in history, this man truly decided to retire at the peak of his powers and as a veteran.
Just pick the favorite game out of all the ones he played, we always like going for the masterclass he gave to peers Ronaldo and Ronaldinho in the quarterfinals.
France won that match 1-0 with Zidane providing an assist to Thierry Henry, but the Real Madrid star moved like a ballet performer from the Russian Bolshoi.
However, the match that we are remembering today is one that will remain in our memory for life and for all the wrong reasons.
On this day, exactly 13 years ago, Italy won the World Cup after a penalty shoot-out against France. 🇮🇹🏆
But the game will forever be remembered for Zinedine Zidane's headbutt on Marco Materazzi. 👊🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/1Tbj5obCSn
— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) July 9, 2019
From hero to zero in a matter of minutes.
The final came after Italy dramatically defeated Germany and France did the same with Portugal, the game was set at Olympiastadion in Berlin.
The overwhelming favorites were the French, but the Italians were going through the biggest scandal in their football’s history with the Calciopoli scandal.
This was the game to try and forget about the most embarrassing moment in Serie A’s recent years.
Zidane let them know that he meant business from the very beginning, the scored a ‘Panenka’ penalty before the 10-minute mark and left everybody speechless.
However, the villain of the night was Marco Materazzi and he scored the equalizer through a header.
By the time the game got to extra time, the Italians knew that France had the edge of winning the penalties if they had Zidane on their side.
Materazzi made the decision to pick on the legendary player at the right moment, he received a headbutt for it and saw the red card.
This was the decisive factor that gave France the eventual victory in a penalty shootout, Zidane retired with this infamous moment on his shoulders.
The France legend had the choice to leave this sport as one of the three best players in football history and simply decided he didn’t want that attention.
That’s pretty damn gangster from Zidane’s part of you ask us…
— Edu Saracho (@saracho_) October 21, 2012
What do you think about Zidane’s headbutt to Materazzi? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.