Zidane, the historic election


By: Manu Tournoux

A true living legend of French football, Zinedine Zidane has also left an imprint on his sport on a global level. With the 1998 Ballon d’Or as an individual accolade. That was twenty-five years ago.

Time passes at breakneck speed. Twenty-five years ago to the day, Zinedine Zidane received the 1998 Ballon d’Or. For the youngest, all this is already ancient history. But the fact that the aura of “Zizou” remains as important as ever more than two decades later, allows us not to forget one of the major events in the career of the former creative milieu. The last tricolor to have lifted the Ballon d’Or before Karim Benzema was elected in 2022, Zinedine Zidane fully deserved his reward at the time.

If he had not been flamboyant during the World Cup contested and won that famous year 1998 by France, the ex-player of Real Madrid, Juventus and Bordeaux had known how to stand out and be decisive at the best of times. The one where all the spotlights are more than ever focused on the green rectangle: the World Cup final. Against Brazil, Zidane scored a historic double header, before Emmanuel Petit increased the score (3-0) at the very end of the match, to record the Blues’ first World Cup victory .

Thuram, seventh

The year of his Ballon d’Or, Zinedine Zidane also shone with Juvenus since he won the Italian championship and reached the final of the Champions League, but also the Italian Super Cup. As for the Ballon d’Or ranking, the Frenchman was ahead of Davor Suker, Ronaldo, Michael Owen and Rivaldo. Second Frenchman in the ranking, Lilian Thuram finished in seventh position.

During the presentation of the Ballon d’Or, carried out at the time on France 2, “Zizou” had defied his modesty and shyness to express his happiness at succeeding in particular Jean-Pierre Papin, Michel Platini and even Raymond Kopa, present at his side that day. “ I do not know what to say. It’s true that I’m a little moved, like Jean-Pierre (Papin) who told me. I am happy to be the fourth Frenchman to have won the Ballon d’Or. But above all I am happy to have my family there, as well as my friends. And if my grandpa is here, my grandma stayed at home and I kiss her very much. » Simple but touching words, like Zinedine Zidane who entered the history of the Ballon d’Or forever that day.

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