Best Quotes on Zinedine Zidane

“Zidane has an exceptional coordination, an exceptional touch of the ball. Every area three yards around Zidane, you could give him the ball where you wanted. He puts it down and plays.” 

— Arsene Wenger

Zinedine Zidane won every possible major trophy with club and country. The former Real Madrid midfielder is ranked among the greatest players of all-time. The Frenchman receives appreciation and respect from football fans and the biggest names in the football world. After hanging up his football boots, Zidane has started his managerial career. Even if he manages to win half of what he did as a player, he will have a very successful career in management.

zizou

Here’s a compilation of quotes about the former midfield genius:

“He played like a ‘general’ in midfield. He has technique, tricks, passing and also has an ability to score some of the best goals.” 

— Marco van Basten

“Zidane is one of the greatest players in history, a truly magnificent player.” 

— Franz Beckenbauer

“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.” 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

“I don’t think my players would be too upset if I mentioned that I’d like Zidane in our side” . . . “You look at Zidane and think ‘I’ve never seen a player quite like that’. Diego Maradona was a great player. Johan Cruyff was a great player. They were different – but with similarities. What sets Zidane apart is the way he manipulates a football, buying himself space that isn’t there. Add his vision and it makes him very special.”

 — 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.” 

Paul Scholes (when asked to name one player he would have liked to play with)

“He played the most beautiful football. If there was a painting before Zinedine, it was embellished with his magical paintbrush.” 

— Juan Pablo Sorin (translated from French)

“Zidane, the best player  of the modern era. [ . . . ] He seems to have so much time on the ball and there’s so much to him – dribbling, creativity, passing, scoring [ . . . ] powerful at set-pieces.” 

— Jamie Carragher (FourFourTwo magazine)

“He leads the orchestra. But he’s also willing to work – and a dead-ball specialist. That makes him a pretty good player in my book.” 

— Kevin Keegan

“For me, Zidane is one of the best players I’ve ever played against. His touch is amazing – he can do things with a ball that you’ve never seen before – and he makes it all look so easy. There’s so much creativity there, but he never appears flustered in possession of the ball – that’s a sign of a great player.” 

— Ryan Giggs (FourFourTwo magazine)

“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!” 

— Roberto Carlos

“One of the all-time greats, what Zizou could do with a football will be remembered forever. An honour to say I have played with him.” 

— Roberto Carlos

I really enjoy watching Zinedine Zidane. His elegance of movement on the pitch and his skills are uncanny. Apart from being an impressive player, he is also very humble and very likeable as a person.” 

— Rivaldo

“Zinedine Zidane. What he could do with a football is a dream for most of us.” 

— Xabi Alonso (when asked about his sporting hero)

“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.” 

— Alfredo di Stefano

“I think he’s the player that really has been my favourite for the last few years. Playing against him you realise the man is a real genius as a footballer.”

— Frank Lampard

“Zidane’s goal in the club’s ninth Champions League win was the goal of a genius, an artist, but I still replay some of his moves in my head. He represents the elegance of a simple hero for Real Madrid.” 

— Florentino Perez

“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.” 

Ronaldinho

“Simply watching him train inspires me. He is one of the best players in the world. He thinks in one second and does it the next. He is a special player, one who is original and exceptional. He creates space where there is none. Only the very best players can do that. No matter where he gets the ball or how it comes to him, Zidane can get out of trouble. His imagination and his technique are amazing.” 

— 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.” 

— Stefan Effenberg

“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.” 

Pele (2006)

“He’s a truly great player. The fact that he’s retiring is a great loss for the world of football.”

— Kaka (2006)

“Technically, I think he is the king of what’s fundamental in the game — control and passing. I don’t think anyone can match him when it comes to controlling or receiving the ball.” 

— 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.” 

— Marcello Lippi (2006)

“The greatest player of the last 20 years? It has to be Zidane. He had everything. You never needed to tell him anything as he did it all by himself and knew what was expected.”

— Marcello Lippi

“To train with Zidane for three years was a dream. For me, he is the greatest player of all time.” 

— David Beckham

“Zinedine Zidane is one of the greatest players to have ever played the game. Last time I played against him at Old Trafford he put in one of the best performances I have ever seen at the ground.” 

— David Beckham

“At 18, he wasn’t the great Zidane, no. He was already gifted technically, but not strong physically. But technically, he was superb. He had sublime skill, a superb touch, and all the moves.”

— Luis Fernandez (translated from French)

“I was really, really convinced that he was going to get where he did. It wasn’t possible for me to think any other way. He had everything: technique, mental strength, he was level-headed, and possessed the ability to question things in order to improve.”

— Francois Grenet (translated from French)

“Once or twice in your career, you need that meeting of talent with delivery. That makes, then, the recognition that yes, this guy is exceptional. That is then the marriage of art with mental strength, and Zidane delivered in ’98 in the final.” 

— Arsene Wenger

“We can see why he was number one. Not only for what he did during matches, but also for what he did during training sessions. I remember seeing him in training, and I said ‘that’s just incredible.’”

— Fernando Morientes (translated from Spanish)

“I played with Raul, Luis Figo, David Beckham, Roberto Carlos and many other great players, but Zinedine Zidane was absolutely wonderful. Not only was he full of surprises during games but also in training. I’ve been in many training sessions in which other players have had to stop and applaud him. He did things I had never seen before; there was no other player who was so technically gifted. It was quite a sight to see him train.” 

— Fernando Morientes

“For me, it (playing with Zidane) was an honour. Zizou is one of the greatest players I have ever trained and played with. [ . . . ] My strongest memory (of playing with Zidane) is a move that I played a part in against Valladolid. He started outside the area turning two defenders. I made a wall for him and played him through. He could have shot and probably scored, but a defender came out and he turned him with a roulette dribble. The keeper came out, he rounded him, and then fired the ball into the stand. It was the most beautiful goal that never was!” 

Ronaldo (Luis Nazario de Lima) (translated from Spanish)

“Zidane, technically, was really the best.” 

— Carlo Ancelotti

“He had skill and technical ability that were just out of the ordinary. When it came to control, and especially leading the team, he managed to see and analyze situations quicker than anyone else on the field. Thanks to that [ . . . ] he made the difference.” 

— Marcel Desailly (translated from French)

“There was no chance of truly finding a way of stopping him. There was no secret against Zidane.”

— Marcel Desailly (translated from French)

“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.” 

— Marcel Desailly, writing in his autobiography about the pressures of being expected to perform at the highest level and carrying the hopes and expectations of an entire nation, and how Zidane eventually rose to the occasion and cemented his place in the history of the sport.

” [ . . . ] one of the all-time greatest midfield players.”

— 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.” 

— Laurent Blanc (FourFourTwo magazine)

“It is a great regret of mine that I never played alongside Zidane, but only played against him. That was hard enough: he was a leader on the pitch, and only looked happy with the ball at his feet. He had everything in his game you could admire, from his free-kicks to his clever passes to his team-mates.” 

— Gheorghe Hagi (FourFourTwo magazine)

“The best player of the last generation. He would control games, but most importantly, he always performed on the big occasions.” 

— Ruud Gullit (2007) (FourFourTwo magazine)

“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.” 

— Shay Given (FourFourTwo magazine)

“My Idol was Zinedine Zidane. He was the most perfect player. His technique, shooting and headers, his ability to read games and boss them was fantastic.” 

— Mesut Ozil (FourFourTwo magazine)

“He could do magical things using his vision, technique and powerful shot. During games it was impossible to predict his next move. Off the pitch, he was a kind and generous man.” 

— Andriy Shevchenko (FourFourTwo magazine)

“I was lucky enough to play against him at Euro 2004 and I remember when we were lining up in the tunnel looking over at him and thinking ‘wow.’ It was mad. I remember the game well. We’d gone 1-0 up and done pretty well, but ended up conceding two in the dying seconds, both of which Zidane scored. The first was a free-kick – I remember being sat on the bench [after being substituted] at the time thinking he was going to score when he was lining it up. I just had a feeling about it. France then got a penalty in injury time and he held his nerve to put it away. Those kinds of moments are what set the top players apart from the rest.” 

— 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.” 

— Steve McManaman (FourFourTwo magazine)

“People say I never smile when I play but I’ve never seen [Zinedine] Zidane laugh, whether he’s winning or losing, and he’s the greatest there’s been for the last ten years.” 

— Juan Roman Riquelme

“I remember being on the pitch and thinking this player glides about, cruising through games, hardly breaking a sweat and can do it all. He was 6ft 2in, could pass, tackle, score, head, dribble. Absolute quality player.” 

— Ray Parlour (FourFourTwo magazine)

“For me, he’s the greatest player of the century. The best player of all time.”

— Fabien Barthez

“His style across the pitch, the way he moved, it was on a different level from anyone I’ve ever played with.” 

— Jonathan Woodgate

“Just a genius. So fast, so strong, got the ball on a string about that long (a foot) from his foot, the ball’s at the end and it never goes further than that, really, it’s always under control, always in his radius.” 

— Michael Owen

“He looks like when he plays, he is on his sofa, he’s so relaxed. The technique is amazing, and I’ll always remember the goal he scored in the Champions League (vs Bayer Leverkusen), just amazing.” 

— Patrice Evra

“Unbelievable. The ball just seems to stick to his feet. [ . . . ] he moves so gracefully. Zidane passes the ball exactly as you’d like to receive it and scores every kind of goal. [ . . . ] A real big-game player.” 

— Teddy Sheringham (FourFourTwo magazine)

“He was one of those players that you watch even when you’re playing against him, because he’s so good. He always seemed to find time on the pitch, whether it’s to control the ball or find a pass. He made it look so easy.” 

— Ian Wright (FourFourTwo magazine)

“With a ball at his feet, Zidane was a poet.” 

— Philippe Auclair, renowned French journalist

“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.” 

— Franco Baresi

“A true artist. What he could do with the ball was incredible. Only Maradona could do the same. Zizou was also a player capable of rising to the occasion at important moments, and deciding games. Remember those two goals in the final against Brazil in 1998? And that fantastic goal in the final of Champions League for Real against Bayer Leverkusen. It was a pity the way he finished his career, but nothing can erase what he did for football.” 

— Marcel Desailly (FourFourTwo magazine)

“For me, he is not a soccer player, he is like a classical musician. When he plays, behind his play, there is, for me, classical music.” 

— Hidetoshi Nakata

“In my opinion, he is one of the best footballers ever. When he played, everything he did looked so simple, because technically he was a genius. The way he received the ball was fantastic and even though he wasn’t the quickest player, he could still beat his man most of the time. As a defender, you always had to focus 100 percent and not give him any space.” 

— Jaap Stam (FourFourTwo magazine)

” . . . the most elegant footballer I have ever seen” 

— Gary Lineker

” . . . Zidane is the leader. He brings a light to the game with his passing and his movement and his skill. And thereby [ . . . ] he commands it.” 

— Gerard Houllier (quoted from Simon Kuper’s “Soccer Men”)

“He has equal precision and power in both feet. I have never seen anyone else like it except Andreas Brehme.” 

— Franz Beckenbauer (quoted from Simon Kuper’s “Soccer Men”)

“We have that spirit because our emblematic player is humble. I think Zidane has obliged each of us to carry ourselves irreproachably on the pitch. [ . . . ] Zidane never throws a dirty look at a player who makes a bad pass. He never neglects to try to win the ball simply because his name is Zidane.”

— Lilian Thuram (in his autobiography; quoted from Simon Kuper’s “Soccer Men”)

“Zidane achieves on the field what everyone dreams of doing just once. Even if I had trained day and night, I would never have got there.” 

— Didier Deschamps (quoted from Simon Kuper’s “Soccer Men”)

” . . . speaks only with the ball.” 

— Jorge Valdano (quoted from Simon Kuper’s “Soccer Men”)

“One of the best two or three footballers I have ever seen was Zinedine Zidane. [ . . . ] 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.”

Paul Scholes (quoted from his autobiography, “Scholes: My story”)

“Playing alongside Zidane is like dancing next to Fred Astaire.” 

— Clive Tyldesley