Posts Tagged ‘Zinedine Zidane’

He really was a God among mere mortals.

Just like the old days. Zidane to Figo -> Boom.

A hommage to my favorite player in the World right now, and the most elegant footballer on the planet since Zinedine Zidane.

He’s so, so good.

The 2nd leg of the Champions League Round of 16 between Real Madrid and Lyon is fast approaching. As nervous and solicitous as I am, I’m also inspired and eager to finally see The Merengues break the curse and advance to the next round.

I came across a video today after reading what Iker Casillas had to say regarding the atmosphere of the Bernabeu:

“Against Lyon we expect a Bernabeu worthy of great European nights,” said Iker Casillas after Saturday’s match against Hercules. The Real Madrid captain is well aware of the history of the Club and knows the legend of the most successful team in Europe was forged in magical evenings that will never be forgotten and that made the “spirit of the Bernabeu” and “stage fright” at the stadium well known. A great part of that history unfolded in the 1970s and 1980s against sides like Derby County, Borussia Moenchengladbach, Anderlecht or Red Star. Fans will get a chance to relive those magical nights when the team clashes with Olympique Lyonnais on Wednesday.

“My favourite Champions League memory is the Real Madrid-Bayern Munich match in which we had to come back from a 2-1 defeat in the first leg. The crowd gave us all of its support. It wasn’t easy, but we scored two goals in the second half.” The captain remembers that incredible tie of the 2001/02 season, in which Real Madrid won their ninth European Cup title.

-Realmadrid.com

Here is the video of that magical night at the Bernabeu against Bayern. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Hala Madrid! A Por La Decima!

If I were to pick one game that best represented Raul, Zidane, Figo, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Real Madrid, and beautifull football all in one; it would have to be Real Madrid vs. Manchester United in the 02/03 season. Madrid absolutely dismantled Manu. It was the most beautiful football I’ve ever seen. God I miss those days:

Time to say Good-Bye to a legend.

I said my farewell to Guti yesterday, shedding a few tears while I wrote my tribute to him. Today, I simply do not want to say good-bye. The feeling of emptiness subjugates any other emotion I could possibly have at this moment. I was never an advocate of worshiping other people; but if I had to, only Raul would come close. To have your childhood hero who’s served your club so loyally and so entrancingly leave is an indescribable feeling.

Not only was Raul one of the best footballers that ever lived, he was also an icon and symbol for Spanish Football – especially for Real Madrid. He is a class act both on and off the pitch and is literally one of the most globally respected footballers in the World:

Michel Salgado:
“Raul is the soul of Real Madrid.”

Zinedine Zidane:
“He is a role model for anyone who sets foot on the field of play.”

Ronaldo:
“It is an honor to play alongside someone like Raul.”

Alfredo di Stefano:
“Raul does something that few players dare to try: he walks into a stadium with 100,000 people watching him and he plays as if he was in his neighborhood.”

Pele:
“He has the same talent that Brazilian players have.”

Maradona:
“Raul is a genius who has managed to maintain the same level of play for so many years.”

Guus Hiddink:
“He is the kind of player that every coach wants on his team.”

Fabio Capello:
“He is my favorite forward. He has the instinct of an assassin.”

Iker Casillas:
“Raul is a symbol of Real Madrid. A great captain is defined by ups and downs, knowing how to always make the best of any situation. Raul is an example of professionalism and he helped me grow as a player and person. The incredible histories of clubs are written by great footballers, and Raul is one of them.”

Cristiano Ronaldo:
“Playing by Raul’s side has been an honor. I always dreamed of doing so as a kid. It was an honor to share the same dressing room and I wish him all the best.”

Xabi Alonso:
“Raul represents the values of Real Madrid. He is a symbol and a part of this club’s history. It isn’t easy to play for Real Madrid for 15 years, but he did because is a magnificent player.”

Kaka:
“Raul is an amazing player and an important member of this club. Raul will forever be a part of Madridismo and his leaving is a sad day for fans and teammates.”

Drenthe:
“Raul is a genteman of football and a wonderful captain. He was always very nice to me and looked after me.”

Pepe:
“The 16 years that he played here speak words about his talent. He holds a special place in my heart because he always followed my progress when I was injured. He got off from the bench and accompanied me to the dressing room, which was an incredible gesture that I will never forget. He is a huge piece of Real Madrid history.”

Lass:
“I am very happy to have played with him. I remember watching him play when I was a little boy. He has helped me a lot since I came to Madrid. I will always say that I had the privilege to play with Raul at Real Madrid.”

Dudek:
“Raul is an incredible professional and an example for everyone on and off the pitch. He is a great person. It was a pleasure having played by his side.”

Benzema:
“Raul is a role model for all football players, especially the youngest ones. He is a great person and a symbol of Real Madrid and Spanish football. He is a fantastic forward and a very effective player.”

Adan:
“A piece of Real Madrid’s history is leaving. He is an icon and great captain. He is role model for all players who rose up through the academy. His is an example of excitement, hard work and professionalism. It was a pleasure to share a dressing room with Raul and I wish him all the best in the future.”

Marcelo:
“Raul won’t forget us and we won’t forget him. He is a symbol of everything Real Madrid.”

Gago:
“An emblem of Real Madrid is leaving; one of those players that all fans identify with. It was a pleasure to play with Raul and to share a dressing room with him. I wish him all the best on both a personal and sporting level.”

So what will we remember Raul for? I’ll remember him most for his intelligence and cleverness on the pitch. I believe that Fernando Hierro said it best when he said: “Raul is not a 10 in anything, but he is a 9 in everything”. I have never seen any footballer be able to chip the ball over the goalkeeper for a goal so effortlessly the way Raul has been known for doing. His natural position was a support striker right behind the ‘#9’. His unselfishness, clever through passes, and deadly finishing made him form a deadly and unforgettable combo. with his strike partners in 3 different eras – Morientes, Ronaldo, and Ruud Van Nistelrooy. I will also always remember all that he has done against the eternal enemy – Barca. He always managed to put a dagger in the hearts of Catalunya. Never to be forgotten is the moment where he put his finger to his lips to silence the Camp Nou.

Below I have posted his achievements, pictures, some of my favorite moments from him, and a ‘good-bye’ video. So farewell Raul. You were the reason I began watching the beautiful sport in the first place and will always have a place in my heart. Real Madrid will not be the same without your prodigious presence. Gracias Capitan. I will await your return as a coach.

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Goal-Scoring Records

Titles Won

Individual Accolades

Matches Played

Goal-Scoring Count

“Today is a very difficult day in my career as a footballer. I tried to give my very best in every play, every dribble, every shot and every gesture on the pitch. “I love almost everything about playing football and I want to hold on to the feeling of being a player. I’ve always done my utmost on the pitch. The word surrender doesn’t exist for me or Real Madrid.

“I’d like to thank everybody for their support throughout the years. The fans, my team-mates, coaches, presidents and the press. I want to say a special word of thanks to my family. I’d be nothing without them. I also want to wish Alfredo Di Stefano a speedy recovery.

“I will always be ready if Real Madrid need me. Hala Madrid!,”

Raymond Domenech continued his embarrassing run as head coach of France by refusing to shake the hand of South African head coach Carlos Alberto Parreira. Read my full article here.

You will see me here everyday for the next month. Make it your home too.

Never gets old. In my opinion, the smoothest player since Zinedine Zidane.

ROME — Marco Materazzi plans to be touring the United States in a motor home with family and friends during this year’s World Cup.

 

The Italian defender says he’s still so angry over Zinedine Zidane’s head butt during the 2006 final that he won’t even watch this year’s tournament in South Africa. Materazzi told La Repubblica on Monday he’s still waiting for Zidane to apologize.

Zidane said he head-butted Materazzi during overtime after the Italian insulted his sister. Zidane was ejected, and Italy went on to win the title on penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie.

Materazzi told the newspaper the head butt, as well as Thierry Henry’s hand ball against Ireland that sent France to a fourth consecutive World Cup appearance at Ireland’s expense, showed the “disgusting” side of soccer.

He said he was particularly incensed that while he was disciplined for alleged unsporting behavior in 2006, Henry hasn’t been sanctioned in any way.

“I was treated like a delinquent: After Berlin they wouldn’t even let me go on vacation for two days so they could question me,” he was quoted as saying.

Materazzi stressed that he idolized Henry and that the hand ball in November was an instinctive mistake. But he added: “If you’re talking fair play, there’s a precedent — mine — and so they should have taken measures against Henry. But instead, I see they didn’t even bring him in to question him.”

Earlier this year, Materazzi extended his contract with Inter Milan until 2012.

Well, as much as Materazzi bleeds with hypocrisy on a consistent basis; we have to be fair here. The man has a point. We see so much cheating in the game today. From handballs, to dives. Henry’s last handball knocked Ireland out of the World Cup and nothing was done to sanction him. Although Materazzi is a filthy player, admittedly his un-sportsmanlike conduct overshadows everyone else’s cheating unfairly.

Just in case you live under a rock and don’t know Materazzi’s game: