Zidane: a class act. Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

19 days to Euro 2012: We miss you, Zizou

The French playmaker was undoubtedly one of the greatest of his generation.

THE WORD ‘LEGEND’ is bandied about all too often in modern day football.

In Zinedine Zidane’s case, it hardly does the man justice.

The man at the heart of France’s all-conquering side at the turn of the millennium had his first taste of the European Championships in 1996, when Aime Jacquet made the bold move of building his team around the young Bordeaux midfielder.

He scored in the penalty shootouts against Holland and the Czech Republic, who they eventually bowed out to at the semi-final stage.

Kenny Dalglish was at the time believed to be interested in taking him to Blackburn Rovers with owner Jack Walker reportedly saying: “Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?”

He instead made the switch to Serie A giants Juventus and by the time Euro 2000 came around, Zidane had two Italian league titles and a World Cup win under his belt.

In Holland & Belgium, Zizou was the outstanding player of the tournament. The French finished behind the Netherlands in their group before eliminating Spain and Portugal, thanks to his cracking free-kick and a penalty in extra-time, en route to the final.

David Trezeguet’s golden goal against Italy settled it in Rotterdam and Les Bleus were crowned continental champions for only the second time.

Watch his performance and goal against Pep Guardiola and Spain below:

YouTube credit:

20 days to Euro 2012: Are you ready?

21 days to Euro 2012: Italy come good the second time of asking

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