Sports Nicknames - Zizou

Zinedine Zidane is one of the most famous footballers in the world, right up there with Pele, Maradona, Messi and the Ronaldos. He's also now one of the most famous managers, having won 3 Champions Leagues and 2 La Liga titles with Real Madrid. He is affectionately known by fans all over the world as "Zizou".

Profile drawing of Zinedane Zidane, also known as Zizou - Digital art.  Illustration.

The nickname supposedly originated when he was playing for Bordeaux in the early 1990s. The coach at the time, Rolland Courbis was looking for an affectionate nickname for Zinedine Yazid Zidane. At first he tried Ziz, but it still didn't feel right. Then he heard player Jean-Francois Daniel call him Zizou and thought it was perfect. What Courbis didn't realise was that the nickname would stick with him throughout his playing career and even into his managerial one.

In Zizou's playing career, he became a superstar, especially when he joined Juventus in 1996. He won 2 Serie A titles with the club from Turin before moving to Real Madrid in 2001 for a world record fee, which would not be broken for the next 8 years. There, he won La Liga and 2002 Champions League, with one of the most famous goals of all time with his left footed volley against Bayer Leverkusen.

Despite these successes, Zizou's playing career ended with controversy. He was sent off in the final of the 2006 World Cup with his famous headbutt on Marco Materazzi. His last match proved to be a cruel one, with Italy winning the World Cup, with him having won the 1998 edition.

Zizou continues his success as a manager. The only question is whether he can match the greatness he had as a player.


Click for more Sports Nicknames