By Martin Cloake
At the time, he was the undisputed best player in the world – and for a world record €76million fee, Real Madrid secured the services of Zinedine Zidane on this day back in 2001.
Zidane was an exceptionally gifted midfielder who had won two Ballon d’Ors, a World Cup and European Championship with France and back-to-back Serie A titles with Juventus. He’d also been named FIFA World Player of The Year twice, in 1998 and 2000.
The Frenchman labelled the fee “enormous” and said that he “was not worth that much”. But nonetheless, he still managed to deliver value for money. In his first season, Real won the European Cup, the Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup.
As the Galactico period really moved into full swing, Zidane also helped the club to the Spanish title in 2003 and two Spanish Cups, in 2001 and 2003 – the same year he won a third Ballon d’Or and secured the title of World Player of the Year for a third time into the bargain for good measure.
In 2004, voters in a UEFA poll named him the most outstanding player of the last 50 years.
Oh, and June 9th also marks it being nine years to the very day that Zizou ended his glorious playing career in the following fashion…
Safe to say, two very different anniversaries – both no doubt equally satisfying!