On July 4, 2001 in Lugano, Florentino Perez and Luciano Moggi sealed the deal for Zinedine Zidane to move from Juventus to Real Madrid for a record-breaking €72 million.
Six days later their new signing was presented at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu to join the galacticos, and the rest is history.
We take a look at the most prominent landmarks in his career.
Mother of all volleys at Hampden Park
It was not a matter of simply adapting to Los Blancos as Zizou needed to adapt from playing Italian football to Vicente Del Bosque’s style, the Marquis ultimately deciding to play him between the playmaker and the left wing.
Gradually his quality started to shine through and reached its peak on May 15, 2002, against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League final in Glasgow – an incredible volley regarded by many as the best goal in the tournament’s history.
Five years of magic at the Bernabeu
The fans began to enjoy the talent of this unique player, who stamped his elegant style on proceedings. An attacking magician, the Frenchman always claimed that the beauty of his game was rooted in simplicity – he always thought about how to do the maximum damage to his rivals.
His silky skills created the backbone for five years of an attacking game which lives on forever in Los Blancos’ memory.
Abrupt end to a remarkable collection of trophies
In the early years everything was coming up roses for Zidane, the conquest of the Champions League in 2002 leading to a crop of titles including the UEFA Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup internationally, plus two Supercopas de Espana and one La Liga title domestically.
Then it came to an abrupt halt in 2003 when Del Bosque left, giving way to a state of unrest in the dressing room which saw various changes at the helm from Carlos Queiroz to Juan Ramon Lopez Caro.
These were dark days without any more cups to boost the trophy room. Fans still flocked to the stadium to see a genius at work but the man from Marseille was dragged down by the club’s bad fortune and his 1998 Ballon d’Or was left without a companion.
Flood of tears for his farewell
On May 7, 2006, the midfielder played his last home game against Villarreal. Supporters sobbed in the stands as the emotional galactico said farewell to the club.
The feeling was mutual with few players having touched the hearts of the fans after just five years.
A sad end to a glittering career
He carried on playing after leaving Spain and, hungry for glory, he decided to lead a selection of French veterans into the 2006 World Cup.
It was a glorious moment as Les Bleus won through to the final against Italy – until Zidane headbutted Marco Materazzi and was sent off.
It was to be his last ever game and not a good one to remember as France lost on penalties.
Suited and booted
On June 1, 2009, he returned to his beloved Madrid after being made adviser to the new President Florentino Perez, who was standing for a second time.
Jorge Valdano was appointed as new chief executive which heralded the start of a meteoric career for the former player, albeit now in a suit and tie.
Go-between for players and president
One year later, he took on a new role to liaise between the first team and the president.
“Zidane has the objective to help to optimise the working conditions of the first team and he will be at the disposal of the president and the coach,” said a club statement.
He did not have to wait long as then coach Jose Mourinho managed to create problems for some players.
If the experience with the Portuguese was not entirely satisfactory, things improved as assistant coach under Carlo Ancelotti.
The Italian arrived in 2013 and together they oversaw a club which went on to win the Champions League again.
They won their 10th European title against Atletico Madrid in Lisbon, with the Frenchman seen as the key to getting the best out of some players, especially his fellow countryman Karim Benzema.
Bringing up the reserves
In 2014, the World Cup winner took charge of Real Madrid Castilla who play in Segunda B.
In his first season, they came close to winning promotion after finishing sixth.
Stepping up a gear
On January 4, 2016, after a draw with Valencia at the Mestalla, Rafael Benitez was dismissed and the reins were handed over to the 44-year-old.
He took up the challenge, despite never having coached any teams in either La Primera or Segunda A divisions. The first few months were complicated but things gradually changed around.
With Casemiro in midfield and staying committed to the BBC attack of Gareth Bale, Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, Los Blancos went on a spectacular winning streak leading to a fight with Barcelona and Atletico for the title race on the final day.
They also passed all the rounds to the Champions League final with the desired 11th European championship within their grasp. The dream date with their Madrid rivals was etched into the calendar – May 28, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan.
Greatest coaching achievement
After seeing off Roma, Wolfsburg and Manchester City, it was crunch time.
It went to the wire with the game being decided by a penalty shootout after goals from Sergio Ramos and Yannick Carrasco.
Juanfran missed from the spot and Ronaldo fired home to realise the greatest feat of Zidane’s time as a coach.
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