He won the first star of the France team jersey, is a Real Madrid legend and a planetary icon. Zinédine Zidane, who celebrates his 50th birthday on Thursday, June 23, has received rave reviews from his peers and the players he has coached. Anthology.

genius player

“In France, everyone realizes that God exists and that he is back in the France team. God is back.” Thierry Henry for Le Parisien in 2005 after Zinedine Zidane announced that he was resuming his international career for the World Cup.

“Training with Zidane for three years (between 2003 and 2006, editor’s note) was a dream. For me, it’s the best ever.” David Beckham, with whom he played at Real Madrid.

“Against Zidane, you have only one thing to do: pray.” Gennaro Gattuso before the 2006 World Cup, won by Italy in the final against France.

“Zidane is Magic and Jordan in one player.” Basketball player Magic Johnson in 2002, after watching a Real game.

“The first time I saw Zidane was at Juventus. He was a fantastic player. He was the key that made me change my idea of ​​football.” Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid coach.

The worker

“He had exceptional movement speed that I’ve never seen before. He had that warrior side that you find in kids from poor neighborhoods.” Jean Varraud, the man who discovered Zidane and brought him to AS Cannes, in The Guardian.

“People don’t realize it, but Zinedine Zidane’s greatest quality is not his technique: he’s a hard worker. When someone is very technical, people are convinced that it’s is easy.” Lilian Thuram, 2018.

“No coach in the world can teach Zidane anything technically. With very great players, the coach just has to make people understand the weight of certain situations, teach a certain mentality, the importance of putting themselves at the service of the game. team. But even for that, Zidane had a predisposition.” Marcello Lippi, his coach at JUventus, to AFP in 2018.

“Zidane has changed our lives. Besides the fact that he works a lot, he has this authority over the players, because he was a great footballer. When he talks to the players, he has the recognition and the necessary authority.Florentino Pérez, president of Real, to AFP in 2016.

The model

“Zizou is my best meeting in football. He was also there when everything was going wrong for me.” Franck Ribery, 2012.

“What better example of our unity and our diversity than this magnificent team which brings together Laurent Blanc, Lilian Thuram, Fabien Barthez, Christian Karembeu, Didier Deschamps, Youri Djorkaeff, Stéphane Guivarc’h and Zinédine Zidane!” Lionel Jospin, then Prime Minister, before the 1998 World Cup in France.

“Every day I get nervous when I talk to him. I tell him he doesn’t know what he means to me.” Real midfielder Casemiro on Zidane, who was his coach at the time.

The coach

“He understands the players perfectly. He’s one of the best coaches, that’s for sure.” Luka Modric, Real’s playmaker, to AFP in 2020.

“He is very listened to. Because he has experience as a player, because his start to his career as a coach is exceptional.” Raphaël Varane, who was coached by Zidane at Real.

“For me Zinedine Zidane is one of the five best players in the history of football. And now, in two and a half years, (…) he can win the third Champions League of his career in a row. That doesn’t has never happened before in a manager’s career.” Jürgen Klopp, in 2018, before Zidane’s third consecutive coronation as coach.