Zinedine Zidane

Estel (13 December 2010)
Since the majority of your points* revolve around how Zidane was always carried by his team, especially the France back-line, and how that was the main reason for his better than usual displays for that team; I have provided below the part of a post I had made on the earlier soccerpulse(from which you have used some quotes later on in the thread) highlighting some stats, the significance of which you should understand carefully, before making another comment regarding Zidane. The original post is from 2008, so the data might require a bit of updation. Ayway, read for yourself –

QuoteConsider this, a team has three or four good players and one great player. So how would you measure how important that particular player is as compared to those other three or four good players especially if your best player is not your highest goalscorer? Well I gave some thought to that and arrived at this conclusion. If there is one player among the team who is more important for the team than the rest, then his individual record with the team (as in wins, draws and losses for the team when he is playing) would be slightly better than the individual records of his contemporaries who are all also good players but who are just not as (for the lack of a better word)effective in improving the team’s fortunes as him. I also think that the accuracy of such a measure of performance would increase with the number of matches being played by a player, since it is quite possible that a player might get lucky for the initial few games and not play well yet win, but that such a trend could hardly continue throughout a long career ending while playing with a different set of teammates to the ones you began with. Now the data I have is only on the games with the national teams so this is only a national team comparison which is fair enough I think since his national team was probably the strongest team that Zidane played for. The results that I have obtained (source – http://www.rsssf.com…us/century.html) are mostly as predicted, with players like Pele, Beckenbauer, Cruyff having higher percentages of wins and draws, while contemporaries like Djalma Santos, Berti Vogts, Neeskens having a slightly lower percentage while playing a similar number of games over the same era. Here are some of the results I have obtained where percentage is calculated as percentage = (Wins*2+Draws*1)/Total games played. * marked players are still active with their clubs atleast.

1) Argentina –
Name First/Last Caps Percentage

Oscar Alfredo RUGGERI 1983-1994 97 59.79
Diego Armando MARADONA 1977-1994 91 62.09

2) Brazil –
Name First/Last Caps Percentage

NÍLTON dos SANTOS 1949-1962 75 80.00
Waldir Pereira “DIDI” 1952-1962 68 77.94

DJALMA dos SANTOS 1952-1968 98 75.51
“GILMAR” Gylmar dos Santos Neves 1953-1969 94 75.53
Edson Arantes do Nascimento “PELÉ” 1957-1971 92 80.43
Manoel Francisco dos Santos “GARRINCHA” 1955-1966 50 92.00
Jair Ventura Filho “JAIRZINHO” 1963-1982 81 77.78
Eduardo Gonçalves de Andrade “TOSTãO” 1966-1972 54 79.63
Arthur Antunes Coimbra “ZICO” 1971-1989 72 84.02
Cláudio André Mergen TAFFAREL 1987-1998 101 74.75
José Roberto Gama de Oliveira “BEBETO” 1985-1998 75 77.33
ROMÁRIO de Souza Faria 1987-2005* 70 80.00

Marcos Evangelista de Morais “CAFU” 1990-2006* 142 74.30
ROBERTO CARLOS da Silva 1992-2006* 125 76.40
RONALDO Luís Nazário de Lima 1994-2006* 97 80.41
Nélson de Jesús Silva “DIDA” 1995-2006* 91 74.73
Ronaldo de Assis Moreira “RONALDINHO” 1999-2007* 82 76.83
“RIVALDO” Vito Borba Ferreira 1993-2003* 74 75.68

3) Germany –
Name First/Last Caps Percentage

Franz Beckenbauer 1965-1977 103 76.21
Hans-Hubert Vogts 1967-1978 96 70.83
Josef Dieter Maier 1966-1979 95 72.63
Wolfgang Overath 1963-1974 81 70.99
Gerhard Müller 1966-1974 62 79.84

4) Hungary –
Name First/Last Caps Percentage

József BOZSIK 1947-1962 101 74.75
Gyula GROSICS 1947-1962 86 76.74
Ferenc PUSKÁS 1945-1956 85 80.59
Nándor HIDEGKUTI 1945-1958 69 82.61
Sándor KOCSIS 1948-1956 68 84.56

5) Netherlands –
Name First/Last Caps Percentage

Ruud KROL 1969-1983 83 68.07
Willem VAN HANEGEM 1968-1979 52 71.15
Johan NEESKENS 1970-1981 49 70.41
Johan CRUIJFF 1966-1977 48 73.96
Rob RENSENBRINK 1968-1979 46 72.83

Ronald KOEMAN 1983-1994 78 66.03
Hans VAN BREUKELEN 1980-1992 73 60.96
Frank RIJKAARD 1981-1994 73 61.64
Ruud GULLIT 1981-1994 66 67.42
Marco VAN BASTEN 1983-1992 58 66.38

6) France –
Name First/Last Caps Percentage

BOSSIS Maxime 1976-1986 76 66.44
PLATINI Michel 1976-1987 72 63.19

PAPIN Jean-Pierre 1986-1995 54 71.29
CANTONA Eric 1987-1995 45 72.22

DESCHAMPS Didier 1989-2000 103 77.18
BLANC Laurent 1989-2000 97 76.80
PETIT Emmanuel 1990-2003 63 71.43

THURAM Lilian 1994-2008 142 77.81
DESAILLY Marcel 1993-2004 116 78.45
ZIDANE Zinedine 1994-2006 108 81.02
LIZARAZU Bixente 1992-2004 97 79.38
DJORKAEFF Youri 1993-2002 82 76.83
DUGARRY Christophe 1994-2002 55 73.64

VIEIRA Patrick 1997-2008 105* 73.81
HENRY Thierry 1997-2008 102* 75.49

The data is self explanatory. I think it is quite interesting that Zidane has a higher percentage of Wins and Draws with France than any of his contemporaries, while having played more than 100 matches himself. Coincidence or did France play better when he was in the team?

The next quote shows some data and stats of Zidane in European competitions with his clubs. Again, the stats don’t provide the complete picture since there could very well be a game where he didn’t do much but ended up scoring or assisting a goal, while there could be another where he was playing really well but failed to get on the assists or goals sheet. However, these stats do provide a perspective on what exactly was Zidane’s contribution to his club team’s progress in these tournaments.

Zidane for his clubs in the CL/UC knockout rounds,

Bordeaux 95/96 UEFA CUP:
R16 – Real Betis – 1G (35m lob with his weaker left foot)
QF – AC Milan – 2A
SF – Slavia Prague – 1A
F – Bayern Munich (Is suspended for first leg)

Juventus 96/97 Champions League:
QF – Rosenborg – 1G
SF – Ajax – 1G/2A
F – Borussia Dortmund – (Zidane provides the secondary assist on Del Piero’s goal, a sort of a run assisting throughball)

Juventus 97/98 Champions League:
QF – Dynamo Kiev – 4A (thank you)
SF – Monaco – 1G(Wins 1pk & 1fk both converted by Del Piero in 1st leg, Zidane loses ball in a bad position when Henry scores for Monaco in the 2nd leg)
F – RM

Juventus 98/99 Champions League:
QF – Olympiakos
SF – Manchester United – 2A

Juventus 99/00 UEFA Cup:
R16 – Celta De Vigo

Juventus 00/01 Champions League:
(Zidane Headbutts a hamburg player in the 4th group game and gets sent-off, Juventus fail to progress far into the tournament)

Real Madrid 01/02 Champions League:
QF – Bayern Munich
SF – Barcelona – 1G/1A (Rivaldo and Xavi not available for first leg for Barcelona)
F – Bayer Leverkusen – (Scores volley winner with his weaker left foot at the end of a 13-pass move started after Berbatov concedes an offside. No Bayer player touches the ball during this move, following is the sequence: Helguera-Solari-Zidane-Hierro-Carlos-Solari-Helguera-Makelele-Hierro-Helguera-Carlos-Solari-Carlos-Zidane)

Real Madrid 02/03 Champions League:
QF – Manchester United – 2A (+2 good secondary assists in Ronaldo’s hattrick )
SF – Juventus – 1G (In the second leg, Figo misses a penalty, Raul misses a one-on-one with Buffon after a Zidane through ball. Makelele is injured and thus unavailable for the second leg for Madrid)

Real Madrid 03/04 Champions League:
R16 – Bayern Munich – 1G (+2 secondary assists in Ronaldo’s hattrick )
QF – Monaco – 1G

Real Madrid 04/05 Champions League:
R16 – Juventus (Wins fk which Beckham takes and Helguera scores the header on)

Real Madrid 05/06 Champions League:
R16 – Arsenal (In 1st leg, Ronaldo loses the ball due to a bad first touch which is then passed by an Arsenal player to Henry for Henry to run through the Real Madrid defence and score. In 2nd leg Ronaldo misses on the back-post from a Zidane pass)

The next and final quote provides a comparison between him and his peers based on Balon d’Or and WPTOY standings starting from that year in which the first of Zidane’s peers considered for the comparison appeared in the rankings till the time when Zidane retired. One could very well debate the autheticity of these awards, however that discussion is best reserved only for the top-3 rankings. Rather, one can look at these awards standings as being an example of how long Zidane was considered as a top player by the voting public of these respective awards –
Ballon D’or

Year Maldini Zidane Ronaldo Figo Rivaldo
92 14 – – – –
93 7 – – – –
94 3 – – – –
95 7 – 26 32 –
96 22 28 2 28 –
97 – 3 1 14 33
98 – 1 3 – 5
99 – 19 23 5 1
00 10 2 – 1 5
01 – 9 – 6 7
02 – 4 1 19 8
03 3 5 11 – –
04 28 23 – 22 –
05 6 18 – – –
06 – 5 – – –

World POTY

Year Maldini Zidane Ronaldo Figo Rivaldo
94 5 – – – –
95 2 – – – –
96 7 – 1 – –
97 – 3 1 20 –
98 – 1 2 – 6
99 – 4 – 6 1
00 – 1 – 2 3
01 – 4 – 1 5
02 – 3 1 19 5
03 9 1 3 – –
04 21 5 7 14 –
05 9 13 12 – –
06 – 2 – 16 –

To conclude, Zidane was not the best player ever neither was he the most efficient in terms of stats, everyone who understands football agrees on that. However, only a stupid man would turn a blind eye against the moments that he had which made him stand-out against the backdrop of his peers. Also, only the very biased would discredit every achievement of his teams as being won because of the support cast; while playing up every failure of his teams as an example of his utter uselessness. If you open your eyes, you will understand that the truth lies somewhere between the two extremeties.

P.S. While I have tried to gather the stats as correctly as possible, there is nonetheless a possibility of me making a mistake. If this has happened, consider my sincerest apologies and do provide the corrections along with the source.

I think you misunderstood. By the “voting public”, I meant the national team captains and coaches who vote for the WPTOY and the various football journalists who vote for the Balon d’Or. The normal or lay public does not vote in choosing the winner of either of these awards.

Also, generally the Balon d’Or, being the older and more independant of the two (read “WPTOY = heavily influenced by FIFA” here), is considered to be fairer. However, my point was that FIFA would generally be more interested in using its influence to decide who stands on the podium and who wins, not to decide who is getting nominated or who is getting the votes in ranks 4 through 29. Hence my suggestion that Zidane’s consistency in being nominated for each award for a longer period as compared to his peers should be noted.
“The UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll is the popular name for an online poll conducted in 2004 by UEFA as part of their Golden Jubilee celebrations, celebrating the best European footballers from the fifty previous years. The poll, available on UEFA’s website, asked respondents to pick their ten favorite players from each of the five previous decades, from a shortlist of 250 players. Over 150,000 people responded, producing over seven million votes. Zinedine Zidane topped the poll narrowly from Franz Beckenbauer. Italian players featured most frequently with 9 nominations, edging out German players with 8 nominations.”

1 Zinedine Zidane France 123,582
2 Franz Beckenbauer West Germany 122,569
3 Johan Cruyff Netherlands 119,332
4 Marco van Basten Netherlands 117,987
5 Dino Zoff Italy 114,529
6 Alfredo di Stéfano Argentina Spain 107,435
7 Eusébio Portugal 103,937
8 Lev Yashin Soviet Union 101,862
9 Michel Platini France 99,380
10 Paolo Maldini Italy 95,497

I have only posted the top 10.

I do realize that this may not mean that Zidane is the best in the past 50 years but most people agree he is in the top 10 European players since about 1950 and possibly of all time of the European players considering the names in the list. However, I also keep in mind that perhaps the majority of public voters in 2004 are not aware of the significance of players such as Beckenbauer, di Stefano, Eusebio, and Ferenc Puskas who was ranked 11th.

If Zidane is in the top 10 list of European players then there is no way you can doubt the significance of a player like Zinedine Zidane.

First read this. It is the press release of the announcement of the result.

Now consider the portion of your post that I have bolded. As you have mentioned the actual voting for this award took place in such a manner that each respondent was asked to choose the top-10 players for each of the 5 decades since UEFA’s establishment, this from a given list of 250 players. So, whether it was an old fan or a young one, each had to choose his top-10 for each decade. Thus while you may be correct in assuming that the voters might not have been aware of the full significance of Beckenbauer, Cruyff or Di Stefano, still, they had to choose the top-10 from the decades when these players were active. It is mentioned in the link that I have provided that Di Stefano, Beckenbauer, Rossi, Van Basten and Zidane were the winners of each of the 5 decades starting from 1954-63 and ending in 1994-2003. However, among these, Zidane gathered the most votes, which means that he stood out more among his peers than did the other greats.

Thus the polling results in this award can be understood to mean that Zidane was considered to be more superior to his decade’s European contemporaries than were the earlier greats to their respective decade’s European contemporaries, and not that Zidane was considered to be superior to the earlier greats themselves.

I feel the above excerpt explains the Zidane worship phenomena most, reflecting the fact that we are in an age where unreasonableness and mediocre sentimentalising replace the understanding of the necessary factors and conditions which make for harmonious living and a viable social order. We are in the midst of madness, with many people spending their entire lives in a damned state of prolonged childhood, failing to develop and nurture their adult and critical faculties properly, as they never come to escape the comforting play pen of immediacy and illusions. As a final note, I will say that it is almost useless arguing against Zidane fanatics as they do not use evidence to construct their arguments, but uncritically subjective interpretations of events, which appear to be absolute. Whilst we are always at the mercy of our interpretations, we can educate ourselves to be more critical in our approach. I f we are critical then, we will surely observe that we cannot perversely obsesses with the likes of Zidane, even if he is aesthetically brilliant because in the final analysis, it is teams and special moments which decide games. Zidane then, may be the most “pleasing” player, but politeness and pleasantness is not, and has never been a formula for victories. Furthermore, if a soccer fanatic wants to witness true class, grace and aesthetic mastery, watch the likes of Cruyff who was a true technical genius, and graceful player of flair. If one wants to watch midfield Maestros, go back and study the likes of Ronaldinho and Deco when they played in that remarkable Barcelona team, and further, if one wants to find pure dribbling brilliance watch the less popular likes of Hleb, or the classical players, to find more concrete examples of excellence. Whilst Zidane may excel high in innumerable stats, if not better, we will always find players who are just as good as him. Although Zidane excels in many respects, he is not a decisive addition to a team, not a vital player. He is a tactical player, and magical talent, but Zidane, as a player, and unlike most legends, is not suffice in his role, and could never operate alone and for this reason I will conclude by saying that Zidane is a complete mid-fielder, but not a total-footballer.

Further reading & references
http://www.goal.com/…to-baggio-world http://www.dailymail…ame-charge.html

Zidane has Algerian connections
Desailly, of France, could play for Ghana
Balotelli, of Italy, could compete for Ghana
Ozil, the German international, has Turkish connections
Boateng, of Germany, could have played for Ghana
Makelele, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

1 Zinedine Zidane France 123,582
2 Franz Beckenbauer West Germany 122,569
3 Johan Cruyff Netherlands 119,332
4 Marco van Basten Netherlands 117,987
5 Dino Zoff Italy 114,529
6 Alfredo di Stéfano Argentina Spain 107,435
7 Eusébio Portugal 103,937
8 Lev Yashin Soviet Union 101,862
9 Michel Platini France 99,380
10 Paolo Maldini Italy 95,497
11 Ferenc Puskás Hungary Spain 94,361
12 Paolo Rossi Italy 91,194
13 Ruud Gullit Netherlands 91,001
14 Bobby Charlton England 89,921
15 Lothar Matthäus West Germany Germany 86,798
16 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge West Germany 86,649
17 Franco Baresi Italy 83,800
18 Gerd Müller West Germany 82,668
19 George Best Northern Ireland 79,036
20 Kevin Keegan England 78,840
21 Frank Rijkaard Netherlands 71,333
22 Luís Figo Portugal 71,299
23 Bobby Moore England 70,884
24 Roberto Baggio Italy 68,239
25 Michael Laudrup Denmark 67,484
26 Ronald Koeman Netherlands 66,661
27 Peter Schmeichel Denmark 66,463
28 Gheorghe Hagi Romania 62,383
29 Sepp Maier West Germany 62,375
30 Oliver Kahn Germany 58,151
31 Davor Šuker Croatia 58,078
32 Raúl Spain 56,880
33 Berti Vogts West Germany 55,398
34 Johan Neeskens Netherlands 54,796
35 Gianni Rivera Italy 53,874
36 José Antonio Camacho Spain 53,873
37 Marco Tardelli Italy 53,732
38 Just Fontaine France 53,612
39 Peter Shilton England 50,841
40 Bernd Schuster West Germany 50,247
41 Raymond Kopa France 49,504
42 Éric Cantona France 48,436
43 Stanley Matthews England 47,915
44 Ruud van Nistelrooy Netherlands 47,398
45 Valentin Kozmich Ivanov Soviet Union 46,022
46 Gary Lineker England 44,787
47 Alessandro Nesta Italy 44,667
48 José Santamaría Uruguay Spain 43,690
49 Alessandro Del Piero Italy 43,227
50 Alessandro Costacurta Italy 42,511

About omalone1

I live I die I write
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