Real Madrid’s new coach Zinedine Zidane (L) arrives with Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez before a statement at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on January 4, 2016. AFP PHOTO
Five facts about Zinedine Zidane, who was appointed as head coach of Real Madrid to replace the sacked Rafael Benitez:
— Raised in a tough Marseille suburb, Zidane rose to prominence with Bordeaux, winning the Ligue 1 player of the year title in 1996 before big-money moves to Italian giants Juventus (1996) and a world-record 150 billion lire (about $80 million) transfer to Real Madrid in 2001.
— ‘Zizou’ assumed global superstar status after the 1998 World Cup, where he bounced back from a red card in a group match against Saudi Arabia to score two headed goals as France beat favourites Brazil 3-0 in the final at the Stade de France.
— In his first season at Madrid, Zidane wrote himself into club folklore with a stunning match-winning volley in the 2002 Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen in Glasgow. A year later, after helping Real win La Liga, he was named FIFA world player of the year for an unprecedented third time, a feat only subsequently matched by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
— His career ended in infamy at the 2006 World Cup when, after having scored an audacious chipped penalty off the crossbar after just seven minutes of the final in Berlin, he headbutted Italy’s Marco Materazzi in extra time and received a red card. France went on to lose 5-3 on penalties. Zidane claimed that no-nonsense defender Materazzi had insulted his sister and that the Frenchman would “rather die than apologise”.
— Real Madrid president Florentino Perez appointed Zidane as an adviser in 2009 and the club’s sporting director in 2011. In 2013-14 he was assistant coach to Carlo Ancelotti as the club won the Champions League. Soon after, Perez appointed him coach to the club’s B team, Real Madrid Castilla, despite lacking the necessary coaching badges. Zidane has since obtained them.