Things To Consider When Choosing Your Workout Kit

For many people, working out is often about looking super presentable and attractive rather than being fit. However, your prime concern must be the comfort you are getting in the clothes while working out. Your workout apparel is what that decides the levels of your comfort and has a great effect on your exercise too.

What you wear defines who you are. Similarly, the range of clothes for exercise varies for different workouts. Your prime concern while selecting your workout apparel should be the fabric it is made of, its fit and the comfort.

Not able to decide the perfect apparel for workout? Have a look at these points that will help you pick the best thing to wear while exercising. In order to select the clothes that fit well for your workout, we’ve jotted down a few things to keep in mind.

1. Choosing fabric that provides wicking:

A synthetic fiber that wicks away the sweat from your body will not only keep your body temperature cool while working out, but will also make you feel light and easy, allowing the air to cross through. Polyester, Lycra and spandex would work well.

If you don’t sweat profusely, then wearing cotton apparel would be good for light workouts like stretching and walking as cotton is a soft fabric. However when it gets heavy with sweat, it will cling to your body, making you uneasy.

2. Getting the right fit:

Choose the clothes that don’t get in the way of your workout activity. For exercises which involve lots of leg usage like running, jogging and cycling, wear short or capris that aren’t baggy or loose fitted.

For stretches, yoga, weight lifting or other workouts that don’t involve rapid movements you can use a pair of yoga pants that have better elasticity.

3. Appropriate tops:

Sleeveless tops and t-shirts are a perfect thing to wear while working out. Go for tops that aren’t too loose and have the ability of supporting your body, not flaring away. Sleeveless tops would help keep body sweat-free. These can also be worn in winter season as mostly gyms are centrally heated.

4. Change of clothing according to weather:

The workout clothing changes from season to season. In hot summers you are most likely to be wearing sleeveless shirts with shorts or capris whereas in winters, sweatshirts or a think jacket over t-shirt would work fine. But one must keep in mind not to go for very warm clothing in winters as the body temperature itself goes up while exercising.

5. The right footwear:

Choosing the right shoe for workout is very important. If your feet aren’t comfortable, you can never perform the workout properly. Wear a shoe that perfectly fits your foot and ankle but isn’t too tight to not let the air pass through. Thin sole shoes are a good choice as they don’t let the shoe get heavy due to sweat.

Try to keep your clothing as light as you can in order to have a relaxed workout which does not make you feel irritated and disgusted due to sweat. After all, workout is supposed to give you an ever charming, relaxed look!

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Hot Soccer Mom

It's always exciting to watch live football games and be treated to breathtaking moves as well as hot soccer mom. Everyone loves the contact sport. Children, teenagers, and adults are hooked to world class football. Even gender is not an issue when it comes to soccer as men and women crave for the sport. Women in particular are fascinated by the athletic looking individuals playing on the field and bringing out all the skills they have. Let's face it, these handsome players most of the time win the affection and attraction of the beautiful and charming girls. But the story does not end there.

Pretty and amiable mothers also love to watch thrilling matches. Most of the time, they go out with their little kids. At times they get so focused on the game and their kids that they do not notice the male fans staring at them. These mothers who hunger for soccer are hot items in the venue as they usually wear sexy and tight clothes. It's always a satisfying thing to see beautiful and attractive mothers during a soccer game.

The World Cup as well as the major football leagues throughout the world takes pride in its festive atmosphere and huge audience attendance. It is interesting to note that through the years the attendance of women in a match has considerably increased. This can be mainly attributed to the fact that women's football is already getting more popular than in the past years thus their interest in the sport has increased much. As a consequence, even young girls are already drawn to the game. They conquer the various game venues with their hot soccer mom.

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How To Buy Football Shoes

Football is fast paced and requires a lot of stamina and agility. When you play football it is very important that you wear the right kind of football shoes as they will directly impact your game. When you decide to buy football shoes you will find a huge variety to choose from, especially at an online sports portal. Therefore it becomes very important to be able to choose the right football shoes that compliment and improve your play. Here are some of the points that you should consider the next time you buy football shoes:

Feel the football

When you are selecting football shoes the most popular material is leather because of its high quality. But when you have to select the material of the football you have to ensure that you are able to actually feel the ball as you kick it or nudge it any direction. Also make sure that the material feels comfortable when you put the shoes on. Another factor that makes shoes comfortable to wear is that they allow for the air to easily circulate around your feet. The latest footballs shoes made from synthetic material are very good because they are made with the latest technology.

Flexible & Light

Imagine having to run around with really heavy shoes, would you be able to do it? Therefore when you have to select shoes for football check that they are light weight. Apart from being light weight they should also be flexible enough to be able to adjust according to the movement of the feet. But the toe or tip of the soccer shoes should be rigid so that you can shoot the ball effectively.

Comfortable

It is very important that the shoes should be comfortable to wear. It is very likely that you will be on your feet and wearing the shoes for a long time. And if the shoes pinch then there is really no point in getting those shoes, also checks the studs on the shoes are placed in the right place. Never compromise on the comfort for the sake of looks.

Changeable Cleats

When you play football you have to play on various surfaces and weather. So you may have to change the cleats according to the surface and weather. Being able to do this with the football shoes that you buy will be advantageous.

Budget

If the budget is not a concern for you then you can buy any shoes you want, even the most expensive. But we suggest that you select the best shoes at a reasonable rate. If you are looking for a deal on shoes for playing football, then we suggest that you buy football shoes online. These days you can really buy sports equipment online for any sport you want. If you are undecided then you can always ask for advice from the online store experts.

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The Different Types Of Soccer Cleat Patterns

Soccer shoes may not improve your playing skills, but they definitely ensure that you put your best foot forward and give the best performance. There are so many brands offering all kinds of cleats. The most striking thing about the modern cleats is that they tend to be very colorful and appealing. But apart from looking at the colors and beautiful designs, you should ensure that you select the perfect pattern to match that play surface or ground.

Wearing the wrong type of cleat will not only make your play uncomfortable and minimize your chances of giving your best but you could also end up injuring yourself. Below are the different patterns you will find to make it easy for you to select the most suitable pair for your play.

Cleats for firm ground – Cleat patterns created for firm ground cover any field type that is generally dry in all climates where there are less rainy days. They are the standard cleats that you find in shoe stores and are accompanied by letters FG. In this category you will find long, narrow bladed studs and rounded studs. The rounded ones make better choices for damp ground, whereas the blades are best for dryer surfaces and offer overall stability. These cleats may also be referred to as hard ground cleats.

Cleats for soft ground – The cleats usually feature rounded metal studs with few contact points with the ground. They are best for wet surfaces and suitable for areas that receive lots of rain. The designs are done in such a way that the cleats, cut through the mud and offer reliable grip even under the wet conditions. The metallic cleats are however not a preference for many coaches because of the possible damage they risk when they meet the other players’ legs. You might want to check with your coach before selecting them.

Cleats for indoor courts – They are for smaller soccer games and designed for the artificial materials in the indoor courts. They feature a flat bottom and flex points or fins that run across the bottom part of the short so they remain comfortable and flexible. They do not only work well for indoor soccer, but also other indoor activities and can be just right for firm ground uses too even though they may not be recommended for those.

Cleats for turf surfaces – Astroturf is a material created to mimic a natural grass playfield and there are cleats intended for such. These soccer shoes will usually come with plenty of short stubby studs all over the bottom part so they are able to offer proper traction of the face grass surfaces. They come with an extra layer of lacquer that protects them from the artificial grass that can be abrasive; they are therefore glossier in appearance.

You can easily tell the cleats apart by the initials they are displayed with denoting the surfaces they are made for. You can also use reviews and guides to select the most suitable sports cleats for your use.

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World Cup Tickets Are Within Reach!

It’s never too early to start planning your trip to see a 2010 World Cup Soccer match! In fact, the earlier you get started, the better. The pre-sold tickets are usually gone in a heartbeat, so the sooner you get the ball rolling the better your chances of getting to a game.

It’s also notoriously tough to get a seat once you’re at the game. Just think of how many people want that seat! You’ve got all the soccer fans of an entire COUNTRY vying for a spot to watch the game for real, so there’s some very stiff competition.

The first step is to take a look at the schedule and decide which match you want to see. Naturally, they’ve already set tentative dates for most of the games. Check your team’s website and see when they’re scheduled to play. These dates are subject to change, of course, but at least you can get your ticket. You can always adjust your own schedule when the time gets closer!

One thing to keep in mind is that World Cup Soccer tickets are usually non-transferable, and they’re pretty strict about seeing IDs. This means that you probably won’t be able to get rid of the seats if it turns out you can’t go.

Once you’ve decided where and when to go, you’re ready to buy. Buying directly from teams or the soccer governing organization is a bit of a challenge. You’re much better off reserving your seats online at one of the many sites that offer World Cup Tickets.

Buying tickets online can be a little sketchy, so here are some tips to make sure you’re getting the real thing and not getting ripped off.

  • Look at customer comments and ratings. You can always check forums and other online communities related to World Cup Soccer and other sporting events. These sites will give you some idea of whether people have been happy with the company’s service or not.
  • If they have a Better Business Bureau seal on their site, you can usually click it and get information about the company from the BBB. The BBB is your best source of information about a company, and you can always check up on them before you buy.
  • Only buy from companies that offer contact information on their websites. A phone number is always best, because this way you know that you can reach them if you need to. You might even call them beforehand and ask them a few questions about the ordering process. This will verify that they aren’t just an order taking facility, but the actual company itself.
  • It’s generally safest to buy tickets online using a major credit card. Credit card companies are buyer friendly, and if there is a problem, you can always reach someone and dispute the charges. With online only payment providers, the dispute process might not be so user friendly.
  • A bigger company isn’t always better. Often, bigger ticket outlets run out faster than their smaller competitors. It’s always a good idea to do lots of shopping around before you buy your ticket. You’ll also find lots of variations in price.

It’s time to start getting those 2010 World Cup Soccer tickets today! If you play your cards right, you’ll be sitting right in the crowd watching your favorite team in 2010!

Why Germany Won The World Cup 2014

Now that the excitement of the World Cup 2014 has died down and we have had time to digest the memorable moments of the tournament, this is a good time to reflect and examine why Germany won the trophy.

There is a general consensus that the Germans were deserving winners.

They went to Brazil after passing through a period of failure and underachievement. They had failed to win the World Cup since 1990, finished dead last in their group in the 2000 European Championship and went to the semi-finals in their last 4 major international tournaments but failed to win a trophy.

In discussing the reason for their success in 2014 one could look back to the beginning of the century when Germany revolutionized the game at home by instituting far-reaching reforms with a focus on youth development, by introducing a new policy to include immigrant players in the national team and by using scientific methods to help with the preparation and performance of players.

These were no doubt contributing factors but in my opinion the overriding reasons for their World Cup success were the development of team discipline, an emphasis on attention to details and the team’s overall efficiency.

TEAM DISCIPLINE

In the World Cup Germany won the hardest group in the first round including a 4-0 win over Portugal. But it was in the knockout rounds that the overall quality of the team began to appear when they patiently overcame a resolute Algeria and beat host and favorite Brazil 7-1 in the semi-final.

How were they able to do this? The short answer is that it was largely due to discipline. In 7 games, they never conceded a penalty, got only 6 yellow cards and never received a red card while suffering the third most number of fouls of any team.

This discipline did not emerge overnight. As head coach Joachim Loew said «it was the product of many years of work». It started 10 years ago from the days of previous coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

They adopted a ‘team-first approach’ to their game I.e. the players must maintain a belief in collective goals and a consistent commitment to training and preparation on a daily basis.

What emerged from the experience of watching the German team in the World Cup was a model for a young player to learn by evaluating his or her own commitment to the team.

The standards exhibited by the Germans were that a player must make the most of every opportunity on the field, buy into the team’s collective goals, set aside one’s own personal agenda and focus on the team’s objectives.

A high level of mental discipline in controlling emotions in the heat of the competition is also important. A player must stay disciplined and not lose control of his emotions, get sent off and leave the team to play a man down.

Regardless of how much discipline a team has, the process of finding ultimate success is not complete until it acquires another standard set by Germany, namely, attention to detail.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL

Before the World Cup 50 students from the University of Cologne compiled a database of information about every team, their structure and players which was made available to the German squad.

In Brazil, the Germans set up base by building a 14 villa luxury compound in the middle of a small town of 800 people protected by high walls and armed guards.

It was located in a tropical area in order to prepare the players for the hot conditions they would experience. Care was taken to use grass on the training pitch that was identical to that used on Brazilian pitches.

The camp was like a fortress, made to exclude all outside distractions but ideal for focus and concentration. The players were isolated from the outside world and were given new cell phone numbers to avoid receiving calls from anyone. And of course they had the usual complement of physical fitness specialists and psychologists.

Attention to detail also focused on tactics on the field.

Each player knew what he had to do and did it. Each of the 6 matches leading up to the final was treated as a warm-up and there was no celebration for winning until after the final.

After a close extra-time win over Algeria in the round of 16, the captain Philipp Lahm was moved from the midfield to full back for the last 3 matches. This change of tactic worked because after that they scored 9 and conceded only 2 goals.

It was noticeable that when Germany was defending, their front men retreated into deep positions to help the defense especially to recover balls that rebounded from their keeper. In contrast, when Mexico lost to Holland the Mexican strikers failed to do this; in the 88th minute Mexico was leading and a shot rebounded from Mexican keeper Ochoa and went straight to Dutch attacker, Wesley Sneijder who was unmarked and able to convert it. This neglect of a small detail cost Mexico a place in the quarter final.

GOAL EXPECTATION AND EFFICIENCY

In a study conducted among European clubs for the season 2012-2013, to measure the overall efficiency of teams (I.e. the number of goals scored in relation to chances created), two measures were used:-

«Shooting efficiency» measures whether you score more goals than are expected (probable) given the quality of chances you are presented with, and

«Defensive efficiency» measures to see if the number of goals conceded is lower compared to the expectation.

Interestingly the only team that appears in the top 15% in both measures is Bayern Munich (STATS BOMB- Goal Expectation and Efficiency, by Colin Trainor, August 6, 2013). The relevance of this is that the German national team is predominantly made up of Bayern Munich players. They are almost one and the same.

Not for the first time the words «Germany» and «efficiency» appear in the same sentence. In the World Cup this efficiency traversed onto the field of play. In the game against Brazil, Germany were outshot by Brazil 18-14 despite the one-sided result and in the final, Argentina created 3 clear chances and missed them while Germany created one which was taken and so they won.

With the largest population and the richest economy in Europe, Germany has an available pool of young talent and could spend about 1.1 billion dollars since 2001 on the soccer revolution. What has emerged is not a once-in-a-lifetime «golden generation» of players but a sustainable system that can produce great players at the highest level for a long time.

Victor A. Dixon

July 31, 2014

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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