Zinedine Zidane at Esquire
I think we all need to heal a bit, and what better way to do so than with elegance and class (both this post and next)?
Zinedine Zidane makes an appearance in the May issue of Esquire España (the same interview more or less previously appeared in another edition, I believe it’s the Middle East edition but I’m not sure). And of course, he says many interesting things, and looks fantastic while doing so!
I have an affinity with the Arabic world. It’s something that’s in my blood, that I inherited from my parents. I’m very proud of being French, but I’m also proud that these roots give me a very enriching diversity.
Diversity is a great advantage for any family. Children who have parents of different nationalities speak different languages and have a more open mind since they are in contact with different cultures from the time they are young. At least that’s what happened with my children. My children will speak more than one language.
My father taught me everything I know but most of all he taught me the value of respect. He came from Algeria to France and for him it was a shock, it was difficult for him to adjust to a new culture, to find a job and prove himself. You have to do twice as much as others to get their respect and at the same time you have to show the same respect for others, including during the worst moments. I will pass this on to my children.
I had a strict upbringing but now I am conscious that this discipline has saved me in the most complicated moments of my life. My father was a big guiding light and I tried to apply this in my career. Maybe a little too much.
I enjoyed playing on the street as a child and I enjoyed playing at the top. But when you become a professional, the higher you get in your career, the less you have of the original spirit that led you to love this sport. It becomes something different. Playing football becomes a job.
The World Cup coming to an Arab country in 2022 is good for everyone. There are 400 million people in that area today, and there will be 700 million in 2022 and it’s somewhere that has never held the World Cup. I’m completely sure that Qatar will show that it’s up to hosting this World Cup.
It’s Maradona’s choice if he wants to criticize FIFA [over allegations of corruption] but I believe there are more appropriate ways to do that. We should rely on the law and the experts.
Maybe one day I’ll become a manager, but I still have a long way to go before I can think seriously about it. To begin, I need the license (laughs). I want to take my time, I want to make sure that it’s the road that I want to take. What’s true is that it’s an option I always have in mind when I think about the future.
Courage is the key to be able to achieve the goals that your ambition sets. Life is a toboggan, and sometimes it seems that everything goes forward without you making any effort, and other times it’s all uphill and that’s when you need courage the most.
When I retired, there weren’t so many great players. Right now, it’s impressive how many stars there are with uncommon talent. Ronaldo and Messi could be above everyone else but the average level is really amazing.
It doesn’t hurt me at all that Barcelona has played at an impressive level during the last few seasons, it’s good for football in general. What I can’t deny is that I would like for Real Madrid to finish off the progression it has made in the last two years to return to its position among the privileged.
I know it’s contrary to what is usually said, but for me Barcelona is only a team and Real Madrid is something more, it’s the most important club in the world. Without a doubt.
If I’m sincere, I believe the Real Madrid I played on would have beaten this Barcelona. But what I’m sure of is that they would have been some fantastic games.
I really enjoy playing futsal, it’s more technical and you have lots more different possibilities to play with the ball, to do some surprising tricks that you can’t do in studs.
I’m a different man on the pitch than I am off it. I believe everyone is.
If you look at the 14 red cards I had throughout my career, you’ll realize that 12 of them were the direct result of provocation. I’m not saying that this is something I’m proud of nor can I justify my reactions in those moments, but it was my passion and my temper that led me to act in that way.
In my life, I’ve always tried to act as a conciliator in all aspects of my life. I’ve never tried to anger or to provoke anyone. That’s why I believe that when someone does the same to me, it has double the effect, it builds up. Then it explodes.
Being a father has given me a much wider perspective on life. It isn’t just about the responsibility of teaching your children, it’s about looking at yourself to know what you’re capable of giving them. You should forget the egotistical life that you had, where you were the center of your universe, to reveal a new existence where you should dedicate all your energy to helping others develop. It’s something almost magical, unreal until you live it.
It’s harder to raise a child than to play football. There’s no possible comparison.
Watch the making of video here.