When we started to hear about Zinedine Zidane in Algeria in the mid-1990s, some people wondered about a possible relationship with the great striker Djamel Zidane who had shone with the Fennecs in the 1982 and 1986 World Cup… No report ! Djamel is a native of Algiers while Zinedine was born in Marseille, son of Smaïl Zidane, who had left his village of Aguemoune Ath Slimane in 1953, in small Kabylie, to come and work in France. It was in the summer of 1996, after the Euros and when signing for Juventus, that “Zidanemania” got carried away in his father’s country: “In the 1990s marked by civil war and football national disaster, we had no icons to identify with, told the Algerian journalist Naïm Beneddra for So Foot in 2021. Zidane was a huge footballer, holder at Juventus and leader of a very competitive France team. his exploits, we vibrated by proxy for a great player who, moreover, did not deny his Algerian and Kabyle roots. So we were proud of him, even if we knew very well that he was first and foremost French.”FootballFrom Zinédine to Zidane, praise of patienceA DAY AGODid the Algerian team miss Zidane? understood throughout the immigrant diaspora, will unleash passions. It is said that in 1990, the year when Algeria had just won the CAN at home, Abdelhamid Kermali, the coach at the time, would have dismissed the young binational Zinedine who would have been recommended to him. His verdict? “Too slow” or “too heavy”, according to other versions… During the triumph of the Blues of 1998, the Algerian passion for Zidane truly mixed admiration and inconsolable regret among many that Algerian football had missed the “best world player! It was not until May 2006 that this legend came to an end with the final clarification by the late Kermali on Algerian television: Zidane. Go ask my assistants Saâdi, Fergani and Abdelouahab who were with me in the national team. They can testify on this subject! Zizou is a phenomenon. A rare player whom I respect a lot.” Zinédine Zidane during his first selection in August 1994Credit: ImagoSix months later, during a trip to Algeria, Zinedine himself firmly denied having been called up to the Fennecs, “I did all the categories in the French team, from the minors to the seniors”, closing for this crazy story. Beyond the hurt patriotic pride, this widely fantasized “failure” of Zizou at the Fennecs, we must above all see the extraordinary passion of the Algerians for football. Quite simply… Coming from the large Algerian community in Marseille, Zinedine embodied the perfect archetype of the artistic footballer as we love them from Algiers to Tamanrasset: “In Algeria there is a love of the beautiful game, of the beautiful gesture, Naïm was carried away Beneddra in the After Foot magazine. The public loves playmakers with their silky ball control, their vista, their creative instinct, their art of dribbling. And this, from Mekhloufi, Dahleb, Belloumi or Saïb, to in Benarbia, Mahrez or Feghouli… Our common reference with France is obviously Zinedine Zidane: we were all inspired by him in France and Algeria, he has been our model since the 2000s”. The Algerians appreciate the warrior Zidane as much, if not more, than the player Needless to say that there, his celestial volley with Real against Leverkusen in the C1 2002 final or his masterclass against Brazil at the 2006 World Cup were just as proudly rebroadcast , dissected, weighed… and overrated! In July 1998, the Algerian people proud of “his” Zizou had also celebrated the victory of the Blues. It continues to appear even today as its noble representative of the diaspora abroad. All things considered, this communitarian admiration, in the good sense of the term, is somewhat similar to the pride of the Italians for their prestigious distant American cousins (Sinatra, Di Maggio, Stallone, Al Pacino, Madonna, Di Caprio) or that Irish people who still take pride in having offered the charismatic President John Kennedy to the USA. Zinedine Zidane during France-Brazil / 1998 World CupCredit: Getty ImagesIt is moreover to the point of caricature that the Algerians will claim in great unanimity the very southern Mediterranean virility which would have pushed “their” Zizou (16 red cards in his career!) to headbutt the dreadful Marco Materazzi in Berlin: “There, he made his Algerianness speak, his Kabyleness! laughed in So Foot the Algerian journalist Hocine Harzoune, himself Kabyle. Even if it’s a World Cup final, with huge stakes, a Kabyle is ready to do anything to save his honor or that of his relatives (his sister was targeted, editor’s note). hot,” replied! The Algerians appreciate the warrior Zidane as much, if not more, than the player.” Materazzi’s chest! “Zizou”, a name that is neither really French nor strictly ArabicEven if he is also cherished there for never having denied his origins (“Algeria and Kabylia are in my heart”, says ZZ), the Algerians consider him above all as French, as Naïm Beneddra asserts. The strong image of Zinedine kissing the tricolor jersey several times to celebrate his goals against Brazil in 98 as well as the non-Maghreb first names of his four sons (Enzo, Luca, Théo and Elyaz) thus sent him back to a cousinage, more only to a full and entire belonging, with the country of his parents. But a warm and deep cousinage. Sculpture Zinedine ZidaneCredit: Getty ImagesWith his friendly nickname, “Zizou”, pronounced here and there in great consensual neutrality (a name neither really French nor strictly Arabic), the Beur des Bleus Black-Blanc-Beur has erected as a politico-sporting symbol, even involuntarily, of a reconciliation between two countries marked by the long Algerian War (1954-1962). On the southern shore of the Mediterranean, in a country still marked by this painful past, the “Zizou president” projected on the facade of the Arc de Triomphe and chanted throughout France have done much to appease resentment. This was the whole meaning of his profession of faith (“I am very proud to be this link between Algeria and France”) pronounced before the France-Algeria match of October 6, 2001, which had been designed a bit like a sort of Zidane jubilee… It was moreover with his friends from France 98 that Zinedine had started his charitable action towards the country of his ancestors. On his initiative, a friendly meeting between the Blues of Jacquet and Olympique de Marseille raised 935,000 euros in aid for those affected by the terrible earthquake in Boumerdes (45 km from Algiers) in May 2003. A a gesture particularly appreciated there and which will be followed until today by numerous medical and health actions within the framework of the Zidane Foundation and which maintain his strong love rating there… Algeria coach one day? A love rating that has remained high thanks to his triumphs as Real Madrid coach but partly eclipsed by the exploits of Ryad Mahrez, as Hocine Harzoune points out: “Ryad is today the hero of the new generations. He is the star of the national team who won the CAN. He was also born in France, but he appears to be more Algerian than Zidane.” one day coach the national team. A not-so-mad hope… Firstly because his father Smaïl, whom he venerates, had expressed the wish (not obligatory, of course) that he would one day lead an Algerian team that his son supports as a good supporter in the One-Two-Three… But also because, like great coaches who sometimes want to experience a World Cup, Zinedine could sign up with the Fennecs for a short mission with a major tournament at stake ( World Cup, CAN) and provided that these are obviously very competitive… But, there as here, everyone knows that the new grand design of his exceptional destiny will soon be accomplished with his appointment as coach of the French team. A fair return of things: it was with her that he was truly born into football on the evening of August 17, 1994 in Bordeaux, by signing an unforgettable double against the Czech Republic (2-2)… When he arrived at Clairefontaine in chief of the Blues, the “French-Algerian” Zinedine Zidane will be the pride of two countries that day. /2022 At 11:10 AM
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