April 25, 2006: The day Zidane surprised the world of football with his retirement announcement
Photo: CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU/AFP/Getty Images
Zinedine Zidane At 34 years of age, the Real Madrid footballer declared on Canal+ France that he would stop playing the sport with which he conquered millions of fans.
“It’s mostly about my body, I’ve reached an age where everything becomes more and more difficult,” Zidane added in his remarks.
When Zidane retired, he still had one year left on his contract with Real Madrid. He assured that “psychological fatigue” had won over him and that he was “disappointed” for not having achieved the goals set by the merengue team in the last two seasons.
“This goodbye was something that had been on my mind for a while and I wanted to let it go. I think I can’t arrive after the World Cup and three weeks of vacation and say ‘I’m quitting, look for another player’”, he explained and added that it was “important” for Real Madrid to know this decision.
That was how on July 9, 2006, the French star said goodbye to the playing fields, nothing more and nothing less than in the World Cup final, which saw France face Italy.
The head butt against Materazzi and as something typical of life, which has its inexplicable events, The goodbye of “Zizou” from the courts was not the most anticipated.
Not only was France unable to lift the World Cup (they lost from the penalty shootout, after drawing 1-1), but Zidane would be sent off in extra time for a more than well-known header against Marco Materazzi, defender of the Italian squad. .
Before, “Zizou” had scored his last goal as a professional footballer after opening the account of the match, with a shot from the penalty spot to the “Panenka”, which surprised Gianluigi Buffon, goalkeeper of Italy.
When the extension was played, the controversial event occurred, when the Argentine referee Horacio Elizondo would stop the game.
Previously, the French captain hit Materazzi with a header to the Italian’s chest, which was not seen by the referee, but by fourth official Elizondoupon being notified by Medina Cantalejo of the situation, expelled Zidane from the match.
The last image of Zidane, a footballer, leaving the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, while passing, on the one hand, the World Cup, which he could not lift, will remain in history.
Reactions after his dismissal
At the time, Alfredo di Stéfano, honorary president of Real Madrid, said that Zidane “had so much class that he could have played until he was 40 years old”.
“As a soccer specialist, as a soccer fan, I affirm that Zidane is, as we say in Spanish, a crack. He has entered among the greats in the history of football. One of the last of this breed”, Di Stefano told “L’Equipe”.
At that moment, his teammates from Real Madrid, at the time of the “Galácticos”, also gave their opinion on the matter.
“Your goodbye is a pity. Soccer loses a great player, the best. We will remember his plays, historical goals, incredible controls and everything he has left during a career full of triumphs, “said defender Roberto Carlos.
The English midfielder david beckham He declared that “after speaking with him and listening to his reasons, I am happy because I support him in everything and I know that he is happy finishing his career after the World Cup. He already was, but from this moment he is among the best players in history. I will never forget everything I have shared with him”, “When I arrived at Real Madrid I knew I was coming to play with the best players in the world. Among them I had always seen Zidane do great things”.
“Now I am his partner and his friend and I assure you that everything great that he is as a footballer improves him as a person. The way he is is number one,” added Beckham.
the brazilian Julio Baptista He admitted that he had never seen anyone control a ball so well. “Zizou for me is a footballer who goes down in history directly to be among the best for everything he has done”.
“I have had the pleasure and the fortune to share a year with a phenomenon, which is unparalleled, an outstanding figure. I have never seen anyone in my life control a ball like him. For a player like Zidane to repeat himself is practically impossible”, he stated.