Today marks 14 years since Zinedine Zidane said an emotional goodbye to the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Frenchman, who signed for the club in 2001 from Juventus for a then-record world record fee, played his final home game in Real Madrid’s 3-3 draw against Villarreal on 7th May 2006.
It’s no doubt Zidane’s transfer changed the course of history, and the fortunes of Los Blancos.
“Would you like to come and play in Madrid?” was what Florentino Perez wrote on a napkin before passing it across the table to Zidane, during a UEFA Champions League awards ceremony in Monaco.
The response from Zidane was emphatic, “Yes!”. And that as they say, was that.
He would go onto make 227 appearances for Madrid, scoring 49 goals and making 68 assists. Zidane helped the club to six titles overall, including the 2002-03 La Liga title.
But his biggest contribution was that night at Hampden Park in Glasgow.
From a Roberto Carlos cross, the majestic Zidane swivelled on his standing right foot, pulling the ball out of the evening sky, volleying a delightful winner into the top corner as Madrid took a 2-1 lead.
He was the hero of the club’s ninth Champions League title, and his legacy has only expanded since.
From Zidane the player, to Zidane the Sporting Director, to Zidane the head coach.
Madrid have been blessed with this very unique genius.