‘Clases de baile’ | Zidane’s dance class takes final turn

Link to El Mundo interactive graphic, 'Clases de baile.' In Spanish.

Spanish paper El Mundo includes an interactive graphic titled “Clases de baile” (Dance classes), demonstrating Zidane’s balletic movement. The feature breaks down Zizou’s space-creating move, la ruleta (“the roulette”). See also the video collection at Real Madrid’s official site (registration required).

Madrid | With pledges “to leave it all behind” and to start playing the game with children, archetypal playmaking midfielder Zinédine Zidane has announced his retirement from football following the World Cup finals. Typically, the 33-year-old player for Real Madrid and France looked sheepish facing the bank of microphones and cameras at Wednesday’s press conference. “Yes, he is shy,” said France teammate Thierry Henry in an Observer interview earlier this month,

but you know he can do things with his feet that some people can’t even do with their hands. Sometimes when he plays the ball it seems like he is dancing.

Zidane’s graceful movement has stayed a theme through his playing career with Cannes, Bordeaux, Juventus and Madrid. “Pure ballet,” remarked Scottish Arts Council chief Richard Holloway of Zidane’s sublime volley in the 2002 Champions League final in Glasgow (see 14 Feb 2005). We periodically replay the game-winning strike that came shortly before halftime against Bayer Leverkusen. The coiled anticipation with which Zidane greets the left-footed, hitched cross from Roberto Carlos still inspires.

“We’re losing an artist and a great talent, a man who has left his mark on world football,” says former France midfielder Christian Karembeu. With Zidane’s exit, just six others from the 1998 World Cup–winning side remain available for selection. “I think he is a symbol who has brought happiness and peace to people.”

Cue the videotape: Zidane about to make it 2–1 on 15 May 2002.

Swiss journalist and photographer Philippe Dubath, too, calls Zidane an artist. Certainly, Zidane has been a muse for the author of Zidane et moi: Lettre d’un footballeur í  sa femme (Zidane and me: A letter from a footballer to his wife), published in Switzerland in 2002 (Éditions de l’Aire). The 84-page chapbook takes the form of one long correspondence to the writer’s wife, Nanon, explaining the meaning of football and its place in the male psyche: “Football has explained to me, completely and gradually,” writes Dubath, “who I am: a child, who plays gladly, and an adult who loves this child he feels inside.”

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