June 27, 2001: Juventus cheif executive Antonio tells Gazetta dello Sport star midfielder Zinedine Zidane is not going anywhere. “It’s not a question of figures. Zidane is not on the market because he has signed a five-year contract with us,” he said. “He’s an important man and we’re proud to have signed him when he was a promising player at Bordeaux for £2.25m.”
And his agent Alain Migliaccio conceded: “If Juve doesn’t want it Zidane won’t leave.”
On this day, just 12 days after Juve’s emphatic denial, Zinedine Zidane joined Real Madrid for £45.8m, making him the most expensive player in the history of football at that time.
“It is a great honour to come here to this great club,” Zidane said at Real’s presentation, before being handed the club’s famous all-white shirt by the club’s honorary president Di Stefano.
“I think that after five years at Juventus it was the right time to make a move and I hope that I will be able to do as well if not better than I did at Juventus.”
The Frenchman was club president Florentino Perez’s second ‘galactico’ signing after Luis Figo the year before, and the following summer the original Ronaldo also joined as Perez went on a spending spree that was unprecedented at the time.
Perez said: “Real Madrid was recently voted the best club in the world by Fifa and for that we must have the best players in the world.
“Zidane is one of those and we have no doubt that he will shine even more in Madrid than previously.”
He added: “Next year we want a great team for our centenary so that the fans can be both entertained and enjoy the football.
“We are building the Real Madrid of the 21st century. The arrival of Zidane is good for all Spanish fans who have the right to see the best players so that the Spanish league can be the best league in Europe.
“We are all happy, including the player, that Zidane is here and joining the great family that is Real Madrid.”
Perez and the Madrid fans were even happier at the 2002 European Cup Final when the investment in Zidane at least partially paid off when he struck the winner to give Real the trophy in their centenary season.
Zizou spent five seasons at the Bernabeu and also won La Liga in his time with the Spanish giants before he bowed, or butted, out from football altogether in 2006 – coincidentally, also on this day.
AND IT’S GOODBYE FROM US
Well folks, after two years and more than 700 articles on football’s glorious and sometimes not-so-glorious history, we are going to take a break for the moment. Our content will still be available to search through if you want to look up your club or favourite player and see what we have on them (Newcastle fans – we have loads!), and we have some other ideas about fresh football-based fun we might be bringing you soon.
In the meantime, thanks for visiting and reading our ramblings everyday, without that we may as well have been sitting in the pub telling each other these tales.
Enjoy the summer, and we hope that next season your club gets promoted, doesn’t get relegated, wins the FA Cup/European Cup/Johnstone’s Paint Trophy or just avoids going bust.
We’ll leave you with one of our favourite football quotes ever, and surprising, it’s not from OTFD favourite Kevin Keegan. Instead we turn to the wise words of former Partick Thistle manager John Lambie. George Shaw, one of Lambie’s strikers, collided with an opposition player and was knocked out cold. When he came round the trainer said to the manager: “Boss he’s got concussion, he doesn’t know who he is.” Lambie replied: “Tell him he’s Pele and send him back on.”
Rob and Joe
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