Soccer Coaching – Practice Players Vs Game Players

Ever notice that there are some players whose performance in practice is fantastic, but they are not contributors at game time? There are also players who do not seem motivated at practice, but are extremely effective during the game. Why is this?

I think it has to do with psychology. Some players are very comfortable with the practice environment, because they know the players around them. There is an element of security and familiarity that is not present on game day. Some players also suffer from performance anxiety, so they think too much about the outcome and not enough about the task at hand.

It is also common for players to have mental blocks, so they associate failure with certain scenarios. These players typically stress after a mistake and it takes them very long to recover. Some never do and their performance deteriorates as the game progresses.

Then we have the player that coasts through practice and is your best player on Saturday. This is also a psychological issue. This player loves a challenge and rises to the occasion on game day. He / she is confident and wants to prove to himself / herself as well as to the opponents that they can play. This player is not motivated at training because they have the incorrect interpretation of its purpose. To them it is just practice and they do not see the need to go all out against their teammates.

There are pitfall with both players. The player that works at practice, but can't translate this to game time has to overcome their personal fears. This takes time and experience. Some coaches do not have the patience and these players are left out. Especially at the higher levels. I know you are thinking how does a player with the ability, not translate it to the game? Well here is a possible reason. This player may have played for a coach when he was very young that stressed results … a screamer. This coach probably took players off every time they made a mistake and never offered a solution.

The game player is really no better off in the long run because they never get to full fitness. The training habits begin to catch up with them as their talent alone will not see them through at the next level. Training habits and discipline are key to success, so unless this player gains an appreciation for the intangibles, then they too will be left out eventually.

How is this type of player created? Here is another possibility. He / she was always physically gifted and the team relied heavily upon them for success when they were younger. He / she never had to push themselves at training because they were way ahead of the rest, so it was acceptable to the coach. This player played the entire game and was the focus of the team. They got the ball to him / her at all times regardless of outcome.

Obviously this player gained tremendous confidence, because of the treatment received from the coaching staff. The sad thing is that when these players become part of team where everyone is treated the same and is expected to work at all times, they sometimes fail. They now have to perform a function clarified at practice (an environment they have never taken seriously) and the game no longer revolves around them.

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Features Of Today's Soccer Cleats

Soccer cleats manufacturers are required to satisfy the needs of today's soccer players. And for this purpose, they are required to integrate those concepts that were reserved for only the elite class of soccer players in the past. Although casual players don't play as vigorously as the professional players, the soccer cleats of today have almost all of the important features that can be found in the soccer cleats of the past. The two common features are comfort and support. Let's know some other important features.

Functional Requirements

Soccer cleats should offer total freedom of movement to the player in addition to functioning properly. Besides, the shoes must provide support and comfort. Unfortunately, it's difficult to get a pair of cleats that would offer the same level of support and comfort at the same time. The cleats that offer the best level of control don't offer the best level of comfort and vice versa. Manufacturer should design "hybrid" cleats.

Basic Structural and Functional Features

Over the years, manufacturers have been trying to design shoes that offer a lot of functional and structural features. As a result, the cleats have seen significant improvement. However, excessive functionality can cause some problems like tendonitis and blisters. Actually, there should be a balance between functional and structural features.

The External Last

Actually, the external last provides the basis for the structure of the shoes. Moreover, the global tri-dimensional design of the cleats refers to the external last. As a matter of fact, lasts can be curved, semi curved or straight in shape. The purpose of the external lasts is to target the various foot contours and shapes.

If you have a flat foot, you should go for the curved or last. On the other hand, if you have high-arched feet, we suggest that you go for the lasts that are slightly curved.

The Internal Last

One thing that has a lot of impact on your performance is called the internal last. Another term for it is the footbed construction. As a matter of fact, it's the internal last that gives a pair of cleats the best level of flexibility and stability. Moreover, quality internal last offers the right level of support to your arch.

The Heel Counter

This is another feature that holds the back of your heel. Usually, it is bounded to the outsole of the cleat. After a lot of use, the heel counter shouldn't bend. Instead, it should maintains its vertical or parallel position when looked at from the back of the cleat. So, this is another important feature that a good pair of soccer cleat must have.

The Upper

The top part of the soccer cleats is known as the upper. Aside from a good advertising spot, this part of the shoes is also important from the protection perspective. This part of the shoes is firmly bounded to the cleats outsole.

Aside from this, the upper maintains the stability of your feet during the play. This part may be made from leather or synthetic. However, synthetics are rising in popularity but are making the cleats more expensive.

Summary

So, choosing the right cleats based on your foot type is a good idea, as it will give you an edge as far as comfort and performance goes.

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Madrid: One of the Sexiest Cities

On the night that I arrived to Madrid, I had slowly settled in to my friend David's city center flat. I slipped into bed and cracked open the window of the guest room and a cool Spanish breeze welcomed itself in. As I breathed in the chill midnight air and released a long sigh, I thought to myself, "This place is truly wonderful."

The three months that I had spent in Spain I was able to visit a competent of cities; Madrid, Barcelona, ​​San Sebastian, Bilbao, Toledo, Alcala de Henares, Córdoba, Aranjuez, Móstoles, and Patones (for climbing). Of these cities, I've spent the major of the time in Madrid, and after the trip came to an end, I had come to the conclusion that Madrid is a seriously sexy city.

As discretion, I should add that I am in no way claiming that Madrid is "the" sexiest city in the world (although I'll probably have a few Madrileños who will tell me otherwise). I am simply stating that Madrid is one of the sexiest cities. I also know that I was not the first to visit the cities of Spain and certainly was not the first to explore the subcultures of the country, but Madrid's modern yet historical characteristics were nothing short of charming.

Of all the things I have considered, the following things on the list were the most significant:

Cost of Food:

Food is pretty cheap in Madrid, and while cheap is not often synonymous with sexy, your ability to enjoy luxuries (in some cases even like eating out,) is more probable, especially when your dollar is able to go a little further. In restaurants like "El Tigre", you order a drink and get a free platter of tapas. Granted they're not mind-blowing, you can still have a great time socializing with friends without busting your budget.

Curfew:

When I had to take an early flight to Belgium, I had to take a cab at 4am in order to get to the bus stop in the center of Madrid. I was afraid, very afraid, but also very determined.

Being the smart girl I was, I decided that dressing like I was homeless would be the most effective in deterring criminal. After all, criminals do not mess with other criminals.

As soon as I arrived to my bus stop though, I was both amazed and relieved to see tons of people sprawled all over the streets. I'm not talking 20-something partiers or ravers, mind you. The people have the mindset of work-to-live, not the live-to-work mindset that most North American's are familiar with. That mean two-hour lunch breaks as opposed to our one-hour (or even even half-hour) lunch breaks. Thankfully for me, that also meant that at 3am, all sorts of people of all ages were still out on the street. There was no stigma that only partiers or ravers were out at that hour, people were out simply because they want more time to spend with their friends. How they're still able to go to work in the morning? Do not ask me …

Fashion:

In Madrid, fashion is not reserved for the runway. I'm sorry Vancouver, but you're not winning any rewards here. From what I've observed, people dressed better in Madrid, period. The choice of clothing that was worn on a daily basis, even on a grocery store trip, would be me, trying. I'm not sure if that's knocking Vancouver's style or just my own personal ability to dress myself, but I digress. Does it help that Zara was born in Spain? Probably not.

Patios:

When I'm with friends in Vancouver, hanging out is going for a hike or heading to the beach to soak up the sun. We are after all, located in a spectacular coastal location, surrounded by stunning and chiefly pristine nature … but in Madrid, a city far from nature or the coast, hanging out more often than not intent grabbing drinks at a Patio, or " Terraza "as the locals called it. (That's pronounced Terra (tha), by the way.)

In this Spanish city, chances are there will be a terraza not far from your doorstep, and it will be quite good. It was also here that I learned the art of Patio-hopping. You see, as a North American, when I go to a restaurant to eat, I will eat, and then I will pay and leave. (We do not like to be the inconsiderate jerks that occupy an otherwise empty table.) But when you're in Madrid, you eat, and then you talk with your friends for an hour, and then you order more drinks. When you finally pay and leave, you head to another terraza and get more drinks. I will not lie, it seemed like overkill to me, but that my dear friends, is patio-hopping … (and I also solemnly swear that I am not an alcoholic).

Patio-hopping never-the-less is an art, or in my case, an art of being patient … or the art of not asking why we have to stay for so goddamn long.

Architecture:

Modern yet classical; with a country this old, it's hardly a surprise that a city as metropolitan as Madrid could stay fixed to it's roots. From the Museo Nacional Del Prado (which boasts some of the world's finest arts) to Parque del Retiro (which once belonged to the Spanish monarchy), the architecture somehow still remained relevant to this day. When you feel uninspired, you can also head to the Palacio de Cristal to get some creative stimulus.

Culture:

At the end of the day, I could only chalk it up to culture. The overwhelming feeling of unity, when Real Madrid played against Atlético Madrid in the Plaza de Cibeles during the World Cup of 2014, was enough to explain why the city was so sexy, and it all boils down to passion. Madrileños feel a strong passion towards their city, the same way that Vancouverites feel a strong passion towards the outdoors, and it's a thing I quickly learned to respect. I love my own city of Vancouver to bits, and as an overall outdoorsy girl, I would have it no other way. But after living in a city like Madrid where the allure of the city will reel you in one way or another, I can honestly say that this city will no less place as one of the sexiest cities in my books.

How to Help Your Child Play Soccer in the World Cup

As USA ends a hard fought World Cup game against the high ranked England, I couldn’t help thinking about my own children playing soccer. How would it feel to have my child play inthe World Cup? How would I feel just to see any of them play on that amazing stage? More importantly, how do I help my children continue to love the game and play at their top level.

So, how can we help them perform at their top level? I will give you the top 6 ways I help my children perform at the top level (while still having fun):

1. The Soccer Boot: Like most sports, soccer should be done with the correct shoegear (the soccer cleat or boot as it is often called). The design of the boot will allow correct functioning of the foot, better traction on the field and limit the most common injuries to the foot. It also facilitates the correct biomechanics of kicking.

2. Shin Guard: Most leagues recommend (and may demand) shin guard use. This is a protection of the front of the ankle to avoid bruising or even fractures to the tibia (shin bone). Many shin guards also provide some protection to the bones of an ankle.

3. Proper Nutrition: Proper hydration and diet eaten 30-45 minutes before warmup can lead to more energy during the game. Proper carbohydrate use and hydration, including electrolytes during the game can lead to a better energy throughout the game.

4. Proper Preparation: As with many sports, the conditioning of a player is imperative. For a regular soccer game, a player will run approximately 5 or 6 miles, so a player should be prepared to perform at this level during a typical match.

5. Dynamic Stretching: A proper warmup involves dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching includes stretching the muscles while moving (running or walking). Static stretching is more common, but usually doesn’t properly prepare the muscle for match conditions.

6. Play To Have Fun: When the game becomes a chore, most players don’t play as well. My recommendation is to play hard, but have fun. It is usually obvious to see when a player is having fun and they always play better.

Using these techniques, my children are loving to play soccer and are improving regularly. I continue to cheer and coach them at whatever level they are playing from recreation to competition levels and now even high school soccer. What a great game for my children! Go USA!

Sports and Hobbies in Kenya

Kenya is a land of acclaimed of numerous sportsmen who rule race tracks both locally and internationally, with an abundance of creative hobbies to pursue in spare time.

Sports and hobbies in Kenya are embedded in the country’s culture and are used to promote the highly social lifestyles and collectivist nature of the populace. By investing in sports as a culture (shown through the number of gold medals she has won), Kenya has also cemented its reputation as a home of sports champions. The Kenyan national anthem is a frequent tune at international sporting events as sports men and women receive accolades for their sporting achievements.

Notable Kenyan sportsmen

Kenya has nurtured real sports talent that includes sportsmen and women with domestic and international status who have won numerous gold, silver and bronze medals:

  • Great Marathoner Catherine Ndereba
  • Long-distance runner Paul Tergat
  • Long-distance track runner Tegla Loroupe
  • Gold medalist Ezekiel Kemboi
  • Current 800m Olympic world record holder David Rudisha
  • 800m Olympic gold medalist and winner of the Golden League Jackpot Pamela Jelimo
  • Olympic gold holder, Samwel Wanjiru (deceased)
  • Safari Rally driver Ian Duncan
  • Rugby’s Humphrey Kayange

Major sports in Kenya

There are assortments of major sports that Kenyans are engaged in from childhood, through school years up to professional level:

Track & Field

Kenya is known worldwide for its achievements in track and field, including short and long-distance track and field, road and walking races, cross country and marathons.

Most annual marathons held in Kenya are for social causes, including:

  • Lewa Marathon
  • Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon
  • Safaricom Marathon
  • Kass International Marathon
  • Kisumu World AIDS Marathon
  • Sotokoto Safari Marathon

Kenya Sevens Rugby Team

In 2012, Kenya Sevens Team finished fourth in 2012’s IRB World Sevens Series and had a good start in 2013, with a second place win after England, contesting at Wellington Sevens, New Zealand, which is their best performance yet. The Safari Sevens Rugby Tournament and Safaricom Sevens are some of the local rugby events.

Kenya National Football, the Harambee Stars

Formerly a force to reckon with, the team is presently a shadow of its former self. Internal management conflicts, misconduct among funs and poor pay for players have contributed to poor performance of the team in national and regional games. However, local sports teams such as Gor Mahia and AFC Leopard have a massive fan base and are targeted to change football in Kenya.

Common Hobbies

Most Kenyans have individual hobbies based on their interests and where they live. Rural folks are laid back while urban folks are more actively involved in their hobbies. There are hobbies common across ages, gender, social status and regions in Kenya that include:

  • Attending major events such as festivals, fashion shows, sport matches, political and religious rallies
  • Going to theatres and movie cinemas
  • Reading
  • Watching home movies and listening to music
  • Watching local television and radio channels
  • Travelling and touring
  • Karaoke (there’s a growing karaoke culture in urban Kenya)

Most young people consider logging into social media as a hobby, checking their accounts at least thrice a day. With almost every Kenyan having a mobile phone, their spare time is spent in mobile messaging, browsing the internet and socializing through social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

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JACL Celebrates Its 90 Years

Celebrating a 90 Year Anniversary is a milestone which few organizations achieve. The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) has become one of those elite few.

Young leaders within the Japanese American community started the JACL in 1929 because they realized that they needed the clout of a national organization in order to gain the civil rights which they and their parents were routinely denied. Community leaders from several locations joined together to form the JACL. These were American citizens who were born in the United States of America of immigrant parents from Japan. They experienced racism and discrimination even though they were well educated college graduates. There were doctors, dentists, lawyers, and business leaders within their ranks.

Over the years, the JACL has been at the forefront of fighting against racism and discrimination. Originally concerned with the plight of Japanese immigrants who were not allowed to become citizens of the United States after many years of living in this country and other issues of civil rights for Americans of Japanese ancestry, the JACL now champions the fight for civil rights for all people.

Membership in the JACL had been restricted to only those with American citizenship in the early days of the organization, but everyone is welcome now to join.

The ongoing mission of the JACL is to secure and maintain the civil rights of Japanese Americans and all others who are victimized by injustice and bigotry. The JACL also promotes cultural, educational, and social values as they preserve the heritage and legacy of the Japanese American community.

Education was always stressed by the immigrant Japanese parents, and education continues to be a main focus of the JACL. They maintain a robust scholarship program for high school seniors entering college as well as graduate students.

This year the JACL will celebrate its 90 Year Anniversary with their annual convention which will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, from July 31 to August 4, 2019. An optional trip on the last day of the convention will be a trip to the Topaz Camp near Delta, Utah. This was one of the ten American concentration camps hastily constructed in remote areas of the country to incarcerate those people of Japanese heritage who were forced to leave their West Coast homes during World War II. Most of the 120,000 people lived in those camps for the duration of the war. Many suffered greatly from their unjust imprisonment. Members of the JACL want to make sure that no one else in the United States ever has to endure such mistreatment and injustice as their families did.

The JACL is known to be the oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization in the United States. This 90 Year Anniversary of the JACL is a good time to remember history.

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Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane, the monk-like fantasista – heir to Platini’s throne as France’s greatest ever player, is also widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the game. Maybe slightly overrated in some quarters when labelled with the ‘Greatest Ever’ tag, his achievements and trophy haul are certainly second to very few. For a time he was also the most expensive player in the world, costing Real Madrid a huge £46m. During his playing days Zidane became one of world football’s true superstars, and much loved players – his global fan base was (and still is) exceptional. From Europe, to North Africa (the origin of his roots) and the Middle East, to Japan – Zidane, was the man.

Zidane was born to Algerian immigrants who firstly moved to Paris, but eventually settled in La Castellane – a suburb with a huge North African community in France’s southern town of Marseille. It was here that Yazid Zidane was born in 1972. Yazid, his birth name, is what he was known by to his friends and family. The young Yazid looked to replicate his idol; Olympic Marseille’s very own fantasista, Uruguayan Enzo Franchescoli, by teaching himself tricks and repetitively juggling a football until he was better than most of the boys in the area. In a neighbourhood high in crime rate Zidane had to become tough, though this was mostly focused through Judo – something else he showed an early talent for. But it was football that won the youngsters heart. After school he would gather with the other boys from his tower block, in ‘Place Tartane’ – an 80 x 12 yard clearing in the middle of the housing complex, which served as a makeshift football pitch. By 13 years old his talent was such that he was spotted by a scout for Cannes who proclaimed: ‘I’ve found a boy who has hands where his feet should be’. After initial scepticism he was allowed to join the club’s ‘centre de formation’, leaving home and his family in the process to lodge with a club director’s family.

By 16 years old he was making his league debut versus Nantes. Then, playing the same opponents two years on, he scored his first senior league goal in a 2-1 win. Remembering the promise he made the young Zidane upon scoring his debut goal, the president rewarded him with a brand new Renault Clio. Unfortunately for the 20 year old Zizou, the Va Va Voom factor wore off pretty quick as Cannes were relegated the very next season. His skills didn’t go unnoticed however and with an offer coming in from Bordeaux, Zidane moved South for approximately £300k, where he would be reunited with his junior international team mate and close friend Christophe Dugarry. They formed part of an exciting new team that made waves in Europe as well as at home, winning the Intertoto Cup in 1995 and finishing runners-up in the UEFA Cup. It was during this period he also made his national team debut in 1994, coming off the bench whilst France were 2-0 down against the Czech Republic, and scoring twice. The press went wild – the new Platini had arrived. People outside of France were now beginning to take notice of Zidane’s attributes. The then Premiership Champions Blackburn Rovers coach Ray Harford expressed an interest in the midfielder, only for Blackburn’s owner Jack Walker to refuse, famously stating: ‘Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?’

Zizou was a relative late bloomer on the world stage. He was already aged 24 when gaining his first major move – Juventus paying a modest £3.2m in 1996 to take him from the Bordeaux side that had starred (particularly against AC Milan) in the previous seasons UEFA Cup. Juve had chosen to snap him up before the summer’s Euro’96 competition in case of any value increase. But after his poor, lacklustre performances during the tournament, they probably saw their new commodity depreciate in value – leading Juventus president Gianni Agnelli to cuttingly remark: ‘is the real Zidane the one I’ve heard so much about, or the one I’ve been watching?’ To be fair to Zidane, he had just completed a mammoth 65-match season. Then on the eve of the Euros, he suffered a car crash. His arrival in Turin signalled more ‘new Platini’ comparisons. But after a difficult period of adjustment to the new league, murmurs of disappointment could be heard throughout the Juve faithful, leading Zidane to announce: ‘I’m Zinedine Zidane and it’s important that the fans understand that I can never be Platini, on or off the pitch.’ He was right. Zidane was a totally different character to the former Juventus number 10, and what’s more that shirt at Juve now belonged to Del Piero. Zidane’s squad number at La Vecchia Signora was 21 – an alien number to a fantasista, however after the frosty start in Turin his performances started to resemble a true fantasista. With winning goals against championship rivals Inter, and by helping Juve secure their second Intercontinental Cup in November versus River Plate, Zidane silenced his doubters. The win was made even sweeter for Zidane as he faced his teenage idol, Enzo Francescoli. The Uruguayan fantasista was ending his career back at the club where he had shot to fame. For Zidane, life couldn’t get any better.

Only it could.

That trophy was the first major of his senior career and sparked a remarkable winning period which would see him collect nearly every major trophy the sport had to offer during an incredible career. His stay at the Turin giants saw him win the Scudetto twice, a UEFA Supercup and another Intertoto Cup. During the same period with France he collected the 1998 World Cup and then followed it up with the European Championship in 2000. The only major trophy which evaded him was the Champions League. He had finished runner-up twice with Juve and now it seemed like his Holy Grail. It was probably a major factor in his decision to leave Juventus in the summer of 2001, when Real Madrid came calling and splashed out a whopping £47m for his services. The Real president Florentino Perez was embarking on his first galactico project, signing the best players in the world. And at this time, nobody was better than Zidane, having also picked up the greatest accolades any individual player could win – the Ballon d’Or in 1998, and World Player of the Year in that same year, whilst also collecting it in 2000. In 1996 when he arrived at Juventus he may have been labelled as an inferior model to the great Platini, but in 2001 he was leaving having certainly surpassed him.

In Spain, Zidane won the watching Bernabeau faithful over instantly. They adored his velvet touch and instant control. His mastery over the ball reminded their older followers of their glorious players from the past – not least their greatest ever player, Alfredo Di Stefano, who’s number 5 shirt Zidane now wore (the number 10 shirt was taken by Real’s first galactico, Luis Figo). The similarity would be greatly enhanced by the end of that season, when Zidane inspired Madrid to reach the European Cup final in Glasgow – scene of their infamous 7-3 victory in 1960 versus Eintracht Frankfurt from Germany. During that match the great Di Stefano was at the peak of his powers, scoring a hat-trick. Real’s modern day number 5 couldn’t quite emulate three goals, but scored what is considered the greatest goal in European Cup final history – a tremendous volley with his left foot (his wrong foot) from the edge of the penalty box, to lead Real to a 2-1 win over Bayer Laverkusen…from Germany. He had completed his Holy Grail.

Zidane won further trophy’s whilst in Spain, adding a La Liga championship, a UEFA Supercup and another Intercontinental Cup to his now bursting trophy cabinet. He also claimed a third World Player of the Year award in 2003, making him the joint highest ever recipient (alongside Ronaldo).

Zizou was more than a collection of awards though. To watch him play during his peak was like watching the top ballet star perform, albeit in football boots, such was his elegance and technique when controlling and gliding with the ball. His signature move, the roulette, looked like a graceful pirouette performed in the middle of a clumsy mob, leaving his midfield markers dumfounded and kicking fresh air. His attributes led Michel Platini to observe: ‘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.’ Brazilian coaching legend Carlos Alberto Parreira put it rather more bluntly, though non-the less complimentary, simply labelling him: ‘a monster!’

Unlike many of the other legendary fantasisti, Zidane wasn’t a great goalscorer, never reaching double figures in Italy or Spain. However, he was most definitely a scorer of great goals. More importantly he was a scorer of decisive goals in big games, especially on the international stage. He scored twice (two identical headers) in the 1998 World Cup final, when France beat Brazil 3-1 to win their first ever (and only) World Cup. During Euro 2000 he scored a sublime free-kick in the quarter-finals versus Spain, then, followed it up scoring a Golden Goal in the semi-final win versus Portugal. Euro 2004 saw a poor French performance but Zidane provided one of the highlights of the competition when scoring twice (a free-kick and a penalty) in injury time, turning a 1-0 defeat into a 2-1 victory versus England during the opening group game. Cementing his place as a legendary World Cup performer in 2006 Zidane scored the winner, another penalty versus Portugal in the semi-final. He then scored (another penalty) again in another World Cup final, giving France an early lead against Italy in what was his final match as a professional footballer (he had announced his retirement from the game before the tournament). Sadly for him, France lost that game. Even sadder was the fact that Zidane wasn’t able to stay on the pitch until the final whistle – having received a red card. Unfortunately for Zizou, red cards also form part of his legend.

As a playmaker Zidane’s expression was all in his creative flair and artistry. However, during his career he was no stranger to some unsavoury incidents on the football pitch. Zidane was sent-off a massive 12 times during his career (including five times at Juventus and twice whilst at Real Madrid) – mostly for retaliation. These violent flashpoints were in direct contrast to his perceived cool persona as he glided around the field, though his brooding, often moody stare also served as a warning; he was a player who would not be bullied. His response to provocation was first noted during his younger days at Cannes. Whilst he never started any trouble, he knew how to take care of himself. As Richard Williams deftly puts it in his excellent book ‘The Perfect 10’, he would respond: ‘in a way that might be expected from a boy formed in a tough quarter of a hard-nosed city, where an injury might be repaid with a headbutt’. Fast forward 18 years and Marco Materazzi was living testament that age had not mellowed Zidane’s own sense of personal justice – a flying headbutt to the Italian’s chest in response to alleged provocation during the 2006 World Cup final. His last act as a professional footballer.

Many forget however, that this was not Zizou’s first red card during a World Cup tournament. Indeed during France’s triumphant World Cup victory in 1998 it is very easy to forget, in all the hysteria of his two headed goals in the final, that he was briefly a French villain. During the second group game versus Saudi Arabia, the balding fantasista inexplicably lost his cool and stamped on the back of the Saudi captain whilst he was lay on the ground after a challenge. It left the watching world mystified, as this time Zidane’s brand of personal justice seemed to come without any direct provocation. The French poster-boy was given a two match suspension, putting ‘Les Bleus’ campaign in jeopardy – the then captain Didier Deschamps summing up the nervous feeling of the nation: ‘I know he’s impulsive, but he’s put us all at risk’. Indeed without Zidane, the French struggled (eventually winning) in their last-16 tie versus Paraguay – which is testament to the effect Zizou had on the national team. This would become a worrying noticeable feature of all the French teams for the next decade; such was Zidane’s stature and ability. With him, they were world beaters, without him they looked also rans. During qualification for the 2006 finals, the French (without Zidane who had announced his international retirement in 2004) almost failed to qualify. Zidane (along with Thuram and Makelele) answered the call to help out his country and was immediately reinstated as captain. In doing so he instantly rejuvenated the French who went on to reach the (ill-fated) final of the tournament – along the way knocking out previous and future champions Brazil and Spain, with Zidane in imperious form and winning the competition’s Most Valuable Player award.

So with this fantasista, we had the beauty and the beast. The grace and the violence. Taking the rough with the smooth, he was one hell of a player – maybe Parreira had described him best after all…he was a monster!

Bio

Born: 23rd June 1972 in Marseille (France)

Height: 1.85m / 6ft 1″

Career

1988-1992: Cannes – 61 apps / 6 goals

1992-1996: Bordeaux – 139 apps / 28 goals

1996-2001: Juventus – 151 apps / 24 goals

2001-2006: Real Madrid – 155 apps / 37 goals

Totals: 506 app / 95 goals

1994-2006: France – 108 caps / 31 goals

Honours

World Player of the Year: 1998, 2000, 2003

Ballon D’Or: 1998

FIFA World Cup: 1998

UEFA European Championship: 2000

UEFA Champions League: 2002

UEFA Supercup: 1996, 2002

Intercontinental Cup: 1996, 2002

Serie A Champions: 1997, 1998

La Liga Champions: 2003

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A Short Biography of Famous Soccer Players – Diego Milito

His complete name is Diego Alberto Milito. He was born in Bernal, Argentina on 12 June 1979. Diego Milito is a professional soccer player and now become a part of national team of Argentina. In club level, he presently plays for F.C. Internazionale Milano. In the field of arena, he is always played as a center-forward.

For international career as professional player, Milito made two goals on his first appearance in opposition to Uruguay in 2003. He participated for Argentina national team in the 2007 Copa América competition.

Milito is so powerful with a keen eye for goal. And he is considered as one of the finest headers of the ball in the modern game. In addition, he is also considered as a productive and consistent striker. His nickname is Il Principe (Italian for «The Prince»).

During his career as a professional soccer player, he ever played for some senior clubs. Some of them are Racing Club (1999-2004), Genoa (2004-2005), Zaragoza (2005-2008), Genoa (2008-2009), and Internazionale (2009- ). He got some honors with his clubs. And some of his honors are Primera División Argentina (Apertura 2001 with Racing Club), and Serie A: 2009, Coppa Italia: 2010, UEFA Champions League: 2010 (with Internazionale).

At Real Zaragoza, Diego Milito was a captain for the club, taking over this position from Gabriel who leaved for Barcelona in 2007. In the La Liga 2006-2007 season, he was one of players who got the top scorers. His goals assisted the club to a sixth position finish in the league.

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