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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here's the latest interview by Mr. Zizou, that was
done on November 23, 2001 by two Onze-Mondial
journalists, (Thierry Hubac and Alain Gadoffre) after
Zidane was awarded the Onze d'Or award, which is an
award that the readers of the magazine vote for their
best player of the year. This is Zidane's 3rd Onze
d'Or, the same number as Michel Platini. So enjoy as it is quite a lengthy one, but very interesting to read in a very Zizou way!ENJOY!:)

Onze-Mondial: "Zinedine, you have been elected as the
2001 Onze d'Or, with more than 45% of the votes. Were
you expecting to win with such a margin?
Zinedine Zidane: "Honestly, no, even tough i consider
that 2001 year to be good. What i'm constating, and
that is really delighting me, is that, at the opposite
of the 2 precedent Onze d'Or in 1998 and in 2000, i
was voted without having won any titles. In football,
titles are not everything, there's also and above all,
the quality of the game, the play, the joy that we can
generate to people. The readers of Onze-Mondial, who
are true knowledgeable fans, understand that and i'm
very grateful to them. This is why this third award of
the kind, is without any doubt, my favourite of all

OM: Because it shows that the level of your popularity
is at the highest....
ZZ: Yes. Because it proves that somewhere, i am an
exemple for all these youngsters. I am happy and
proud. When i'm well physically, i believe to be
agreeable to watch play, i'm generating pleasure and
joy. It really is a big satisfaction for me. In
today's football, it's very hard to produce quality
football, because unfortunately, it's not the priority

OM: One word on the 2nd player in the standings of
this award, Michael Owen..
ZZ: It's a player that i like a lot. He has had an
extraordinary year, winning lots of titles and scoring
numerous goals, it's impressive!

OM: For whom, would you have voted if you could?
ZZ: I don't know...Football has changed. It's not
like before when, 2 or 3 players were above the rest.
Today, there are at least 10, if not more, players who
are more or less in the same level. That's why it's
even more difficult to make a choice.

OM: Robert Pires is third: a great consecration for a
player who has had a complete metamorphosis this
ZZ: Metarmophosis? I don't believe so. And this 3rd
place in the standings is not a surprise at all.
Robert has always been a great player. He demonstrated
it with Metz, but also with Marseille, at the opposite
of what has been said. With Arsenal, he exploded, as
he has found the ideal environnment. He has the right
players besides him, and above all, he is coached by
the one that i consider to be one of the best coaches
in the world, Arsène Wenger.

OM: With this 3rd Onze d'Or, you become the player
with the most awards, with Michel Platini, who is the
one who came to give you this award...
ZZ: It's an honnor. Platini it's a big name of
football, everyone knows what he's achieved. Just
alone the fact that he finished three times as the
best scorer in Italy, when we know how difficult it is
to score overthere, frankly, i'm impressed! We are
often compared to each other and i have always said
that we are not comparable. Our only common points are
Juve and the #10 for France.

OM: Not only that: it's under your guidance that the
French NT has won its biggest trophies: Euro 1984,
World Cup 1998, Euro 2000...
ZZ: It's true, we can say that. But football is a
collective sport. Maybe that Michel Platini and I have
pulled this collective towards the heights, maybe we
have helped them reach those heights, but it's not an
individual performance...

OM: Despite your legendary modesty, you simply can't
deny that you are one of the greatest footballer of
all time..
ZZ: In anyways, not the greatest! As a matter of fact,
my modestie prevent me to think such a thing. But ok,
since you're forcing me, let's say that i belong to
the category of those players that do count...

OM: What has changed between the Zidane Onze d'Or 2000
and the Zidane Onze d'Or of this year?
ZZ: Nothing except the club. I have just commenced a
new adventure, that i was longing for a long time. But
i'm still the same, it's only my environnment that has

OM: We have the impression that, you've isolated
yourself, more than before in your own refuge...
ZZ: But i need to protect myself! No one can imagine
the life that i'm leading, no one! Being always
sollicited, it's really tiring.

OM: Is it because of that, that since your arrival at
Real, you don't express yourself anymore to the
ZZ: I have never really been an expansive person. But
it's true that this season, that i have decided to
protect myself even more. My motto has always been:"
To live happy, live hidden." Today, more than ever.

OM: One can feel this kind of being fed-up...
ZZ: Yes. Being fed up with seeing my name all the
time,at the first page of the papers, listening
speaking about me on radio or on TV! I repeat it
again: it's terribly annoying me. It's not really in
my nature to be put in the spotlights, so because of
that, i have decided to be as discreet as possible
outside the football pitch.

OM: Do you dream of becoming Mr. Everyone and being
able to go shopping in the supermarket, quitely?
ZZ: But, in my head, i am Mr. Everyone!I try to live
as normal of a life as possible, only it's completely
impossible. My everyday life, only i can know what it
is; people cannot imagine it. (Laughing). However, as
far as shopping in the supermarket for the groceries,
its kind of very handy for me, as i hate doing

OM:Let's get back to your year in 2001. The highlight
of it, is your transfer. So, once and for all, was it
Zidane who wanted to leave Juve or Juve who wanted to
part with Zidane?
ZZ: Everything is very clear in this issue: I was the
one who wanted to leave. But not leaving Juventus for
another Italian team, no way. Juve, overthere, is the
cream of the cream! Leaving Juve for another Serie A
team, would have been, in my eyes, a regression. I
simply wanted, after 5 years in Turin, to see
something different, to get to know a different
football, another mentality, new challenges.

OM: What's your overall impression of those five years
in Bianconero?
ZZ: An extraordinary impression. I would even say
unforgettable, on both the football pitch and on the
human side.

OM: Are you missing Juve?
ZZ: No. I have turned the page.

OM: However, Juve does miss you a lot!To this day, she
still hasn't succeeded to manage the after Zidane...
ZZ: I personally find that Juve hasn't done a bad job
handling this radical change. I am persuaded that they
will achieve something very big this year, as they
have a fantastic team.

OM: From when have you decided to leave Juventus?
ZZ: I had this desire for a long time, but it really
was decided last summer. After the last game of the
season, I left Turin with the intention of coming
back. In my mind, that was the scenario. And then,
during the holidays, i thought about it. The
opportunity of Real was there and i told myself that
this would be the either now or never. And i could'nt
imagine myself doing another 3 or 4 years with Juve.
As i said before, i have marvelous memories, but i had
known everything there was to be known there, i wanted
to taste something new and different. Then, i took the
decision to leave.

OM: What has Italian football brought to you?
ZZ: First of all, titles. I had none prior to coming
to Italy. But also and foremost, this mentality of a
winner, of a competitor. I owe a lot to Italy and to
their culture of victory. Without that, i wouldn't be
what i'm today.

OM: Italians may be formidable competitors, but their
clubs are struggling in European Cups...
ZZ: Last year, i had said that it was an accident. I
see that this phenomenon is reproduced again this
season, but it's no longer my worries...

OM: Is Italian football ill?
ZZ: No. Italian football are getting it wrong as
far as football and their priorities. They don't play
anymore, they destroy the play. Italian teams don't
think anymore of imposing their own game, but only to
counter and contain the game of their opponent. When
they play between themselves, that works, but in
European Cups, it doesn't work anymore!

OM: Jocelyn Angloma has said that the exasperate
pressure in Italy ends up by erasing all the the
notion of pleasure and fun of football.
ZZ: He's right. In Italy, it's victory, victory,
victory and nothing else. They only have this in mind.
The pleasure doesn't exist anymore, there is no more
place for imagination, fantasy or creativity. What a
pitty. Frankly, it has become very hard for a player
to have fun in Serie A. There's however, a lot of
people that this unfortunately doesn't bother anymore:
as soon as you seem them touching their first ball,
you understand that these guys aren't having fun or
enjoying themselves playing football...

OM: In Italy, people were reproaching you that you
weren't scoring lots of goals. And then, right after
you move to Real, you're the best scorer of the
ZZ: Yes, but it has nothing to do. It is way more
difficult to score in Italy than in Spain! In Italy,
defences are overly "ironed"! The italian is maybe the
strongest league in the world, but believe me, despite
the pressure, as it also exists in Spain, players are
having more fun and enjoy to play in la Liga. And all
this doesn't prevent spanish football to be very
competitive, as one can see, in the past few years in
the european cups.

OM: Is that a philosophy that you prefer more?
ZZ: Completely!And after all, it's comform to the idea
that i have always have of spanish football. For me,
it rhymes with spectacle and panache. That's why i
have always dreamt of tasting it, as that's the idea
of the game of football that i have. And i can say
today that i'm not deceived. I'm having a blast!

OM: Your first contact with Real Madrid, was with a
secret message written on a kleenex, right?
ZZ: (Laughing). Yes. It was a year ago, i was in one
of those official receptions where there were lots of
football personalities. Among them, Florentino Perez,
Real's president, was sitting in a table close by. He
had someone pass me a message on a kleenex, in which
he wrote:" Voulez-vous jouer au Real?" (Would you like
to play for Real?). That night, the wine was good, i
was feeling good and i took a pen and wrote
back:"Oui." (Yes). Then, everything went from there...

OM: After this original "precontract" you sign the
real one, for more than 500 Million French Francs, a
record fee. What effect does it make to cost the price
of an Airbus?
ZZ: First of all, people have to know that all this
money doesn't go into my pocket. I'd like to underline
that, as lot of people believe that. Having said that,
if you think about it, it's chocking. I'm the first
one to be chocked, as i know where i'm from: a modest
environnment, where we've always known the value of

OM: You arrived in Madrid, faithful to yourself: on
the tip of your fingers.
Oh yes!It's normal.I would have done the same with any
other team, so with Real, you can imagine that i'm
making myself as small as possible! No one arrives in
a new club in a conquerred field. In order to
integrate rapidly and easily, and to win the respect,
one has to stay humble.

OM: With so many superstars in this group, one could
have wondered if the amalgam would take effect...
ZZ: Personally, i have never doubted it. You only need
work and above all, time. Look in France, at one time,
in the 80's, there was this team (Matra Racing) with
all these superstars. If they were given the necessary
time to gel as a team, i'm sure that this club would
have achieved great things.

OM: Some people have also worried about your
cohabitation with Figo...
ZZ: I have heard that Figo was "boycotting" me, that
there was "an anti-Zidane group" within the team. It's
all BS! But, hey, journalists sometime, need something
to invent something to talk about. I know that with
neither with Figo, nor with anyone else, there isn't
the slightest problem.

OM: Real has had a start of the season very
surprising: struggling in la Liga and imperial in
Champions Leauge. An explaination?
ZZ: No. Sincerely, there is no logical explaination.

OM: The team was struggling and you personally, you
were doing not bad...
ZZ: Sure, i was scoring goals, but i wasn't happy of
myself tough. I know what i'm capable of bring to a
team and for a long time, i had the sensation that i
wasn't given the best of me and my game. But it's
normal, it always takes a little time to adapt, as
it's not easy at the beginning. Slowly, on the field
as well as outside the field, i've worked to better
integrate within the team.

OM: There was also some problem due to the system of
the play...
ZZ: It's true that Ivan Helguera, who is a great
player for me, was missing. With Claude Makelele as
the only recuperator, i had to play a little bit more
deeper, i had less spaces and less balls. Today, with
the return of Helguera on Make's* side, everything has
changed and i feel completely liberated. (* Make is
Makelele's nick name in France).

OM: Your two magnificient performances against Sevilla
in the league and Sparta Prague in the CL, are the
perfect exemples?
ZZ: Yes. I was very good in the game and i have
finally felt the sensations that i like having on a
pitch and that i hadn't felt so far. (Laughing).
They're starting to come...

OM: Real's objectives are, like always, to win
everything. But i imagine that you have a special
preference towards the Champions League...
ZZ: My objectives are the same than Real's: win
everything! After all, i came to Spain and i don't
know yet the sensation that one feels after winning la
Liga or la Coppa del Rey, so i want to win them both
in order to experience that feeling! However, it's
true, i have lost 2 CL finals with Juve and it's a
trophy that i really want. Anyhow, regardless of what
happens, we have to achieve something big this season
for the Centenary of Real. And i also have to achieve
something big. So, why not? My ideal final will be Real-Juve...

OM: Do you feel the weigh of the jersey that you’re wearing today?
ZZ: (Knocking on his shoulders). I feel it man, don’t worry, I feel it! It’s very heavy, but so beautiful! And if I didn’t feel it, someone would have made sure to make it remind me. Because I’m world champion and European champion, because I have been transferred with a world record transfer fee and because I have joined as a matter of fact, in the year of the Centenary, in a Real that has been elected by FIFA, as the “Club of Century”! Wearing this jersey is an honor, but it also is a huge responsibility and I’ve been conscious of it since the very first day. In any ways, I wasn’t expecting something different, I knew where I was heading!

OM: Number 5 at Real, number 10 with France, is the weigh twice as heavy with Les Bleus, in this year of the World Cup?
ZZ: (Laughing). No, it’s not a matter of numbers; the responsibilities are the same, the game also! I’m also number 10 at Real. This story of number 5, it was a wish of the Real president. He wished that I get the jersey of Manuel Sanchis, whom has marked this history of the club. And he wanted to see Zidane with a number between 1 to 11, because for him, those are the true numbers of a football team.

OM: The French NT has lost 3 matches in 2001. Which is as much as during the whole Jacquet era, for three years. Is it serious doctor?
ZZ: Non! (After a short pause). You see, I’m answering you with short and to the point answers.

OM: Having said that, when the French NT was preparing the 98 WC, they weren’t losing, but they were heavily criticized in the media. However, today, they’re losing “quite often”, without anyone even worrying…
ZZ: I don’t agree: critics are always the same. They are even more harmful now, because four years ago, at least, we were not losing! But I repeat, people shouldn’t worry.

OM: This team isn’t in a way, “falling asleep on their laurels”?
ZZ: (Frustrated). No! It’s too easy to say that. It’s true that there were some games in which we were completely in a off day, such as in Chili, but one shouldn’t mix everything up: I can tell you that us, the French NT players, we are not being mistaken in our objective. And that objective is to win the 2002 World Cup. It’s very clear in our mind, we all know what is in front of us, we are all concentrated towards this same goal. (His eyes are getting all excited). Do you imagine, winning again the World Cup, after the 98 one and the Euro 2000!Then, it won’t even be historic, we would need to invent a new adjective, even stronger!

OM: Does the France NT have the means of their ambitions?
ZZ: But who could doubt it? To all those who are speaking of “decline”, I answer: “progression”. We are stronger than in 98, even stronger than at the Euro. Both on the pitch that off the pitch, and in our heads. The motivation is stronger than ever. This team has all the cards in their hands to win the world title in 2002

OM: When one has been trusting all these titles for 3 years, does the idea of failure come to mind?
ZZ: Of course. You can always face someone stronger than you, we are aware of that. But what is certain, is that we will not settle for less and we will not give up. Absolutely not!

OM: Not winning the World Cup, would that be a failure?
ZZ: A football game, you can always lose it. But it all depends how you lose it. Failure itself, is not in the result, nor at which phase of the competition you’re eliminated, it is in the manner. But as far as this is concerned, I don’t have the slightest worry, because we will not give up. The objective is clear for everyone of us: winning the world cup again. With the team that we have, it is very possible. This is not an excess of confidence, or presumption. Very simply, we all know what we are capable of and we all know that we can all be present when needed, in the D-day. Here’s why, we will go all the way.

OM: All the experts see Argentina as the main rival of Les Bleus in the race for the supreme title…
ZZ: Yes, Argentina, impressive! Also, Italy and Brasil…But we will face each team as if they were the favorites of the World Cup, and this all the way from our opening game. This is the best way, as you said, not “to fall asleep in our laurels”…

OM: You will celebrate your 30th birthday next June…
ZZ: Yes, right on during the World Cup! The apogee. My last world cup. Here’s why it will be more important for me to be at the top in 2002 than in 1998.

OM: 30 years old, that’s an important step…
ZZ: Yes, there’s something new in me: since the last few months, I’m starting to think of the after-football, for the very first time of my life. I’m thinking about my future. For now, it’s still very unclear…I wish to remain within football, but what I truly want overall is tranquility!

OM: So, not a coach..
ZZ: That is very clear! Or, being a coach for the youth, I don’t know yet. What I really want more than anything else, is to be quiet. Since it is not currently possible, I hope it will be after my career. (Laughing). In anyways, let us not anticipate things. I still have 3 or 4 good years left in me. I’m far from being on the downhill!

OM: But still, when one starts thinking about the after-football, isn’t that not a sign that somewhere, it’s the beginning of the end?
ZZ: No, if you simply tell yourself that your priorities have changed, that football is not everything, that one day, you will need to get out of your cocoon, where your hyper-protected to take and assume your responsibilities of your life as a man, a husband, a father and head of family. What my spouse is doing today, on a daily basis, I will have to assume it, too one day. And I don’t have the intention of just waiting and doing nothing until it happens!".


121 Posts
You're a jerk San Siro, translating all this is just crazy. Anyway if it pleases you I don't have much to say. Why don't they have a forum for Fee-go and you;)
salut et vive la prochaine coupe du monde.

2,893 Posts
eeehh monsieur blue??!
:confused: arrete!!

San_Siro did a great job for everybody!!!

8,086 Posts
Thanks Payman! :)

I really liked his comments on the Serie A (and i agree). I have been watching Serie A since the late 80s and its completly different now, defintly not as enjoyable.

I also liked his comments on Helguera. His talks about VierIa early in the season are no longer to be seen. Helguera is very un-appreciated, and though its arguable if he is better then VierIa or not, they are defintly the two best DMCs in the world. Ivan makes a great tandem with Make, and Zidane's great form is proof of that.

I have gained alot of admiration and respect to ZZ, both on and off the field, in these few months with RM. I just hope he cuts the VierIa talks completly! :)
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