Pele, Maradona, Cruyff, Zizou. Arguably the greatest and most influential footballers to grace a football field. The men who shaped how football would be played and viewed across the globe. So to hear that Zidane, fondly called Zizou, would grace us with his presence, is an absolute dream.
You’d have to stop and think about what this really means. One of the greatest in our midst. Rewind to 12th July 1998, and flashes of how Zizou almost single handedly conquered the Brazilians, immediately springs to mind. Mind you, this was a Brazilian team that had amongst others, the likes of Cafu, Carlos, Rivaldo and Ronaldo. The man who etched his name into history books and hearts. A man who gave his country its greatest football moment and quite possibly its greatest sporting one too. Now amongst us. Surreal, isn’t it?
To know the magnitude of this great, look no further away from the words of Sir Alex Ferguson, a man who needs no introduction. “Give me 10 pieces of wood and Zidane and I’ll win you the Champions League.” A compliment of the highest order.
How does one prepare to meet a legend? Quite honestly, I don’t know. I’ve met the likes of Peter Schmeichel, Dwight Yorke, Denis Irwin, Louis Saha and David May. United players and greats in their own right. I am a Man United fan. But I have no qualms in admitting that this is bigger. I felt my heart beat a couple of hundred times faster when Schmeichel signed my painting. The adrenaline rush kept me jumpy for quite a few hours. I couldn’t believe what just happened. It was an unforgettable moment. I felt that again when Yorke and the others signed individual paintings that I had made for each of them. But how do you prepare for Zidane? Sure, I’ve started on a painting that I hope he’d sign. But what would you say to him? Would you congratulate him on the Champions League victory? Would you ask him a question? What would you ask him? Maybe you’d just be in awe. I know I would. I wouldn’t bet against it. After all, Zidane is football royalty.
I’d probably have “Zinedine Zidane Superstar” playing on loop throughout the day. This is the same man who shaped and moulded the playing styles of countless youngsters. Players have tried hard, put in countless hours of training and practice but could never replicate the poise, the effortless control, and the influence that Zizou had. Probably no one ever will. The aura of this man is for all to see. Even after the infamous ‘headbutt’ incident, Zizou had the Nation behind him. Such was his greatness.
Zinedine Zidane. Two words that stir up feelings of respect, pride, awe and sheer class. Well, I reckon you wouldn’t see many paintings around for him to sign. Quite simply, i don’t do mainstream. Let’s just say I’d shine my shoes, wear the best outfit I have, carry my painting and keep my fingers crossed. I guess that’s how I’d #CheerForZidane at #KanakiaParis. This is my #BlogForZidane for bit.ly/Kanakia_Zidane . Cheers and see you there.