French Football Legend Zinedine Zidane’s India Connection

French football legend Zinedine Zidane (nicknamed Zizou) was recently in India, to fulfill a contractual obligation.

Zidane is the Brand ambassador for a Mumbai-based real estate development company’s upcoming housing project in Bandra Kurla Complex, titled ‘Kanakia Paris’.

Zidane, the former French football player, is among the elite group of legends, who have won the UEFA Champions League (contested by top-division European clubs) both as player and coach. Zidane was a former Real Madrid player and the current manager of Real Madrid (Real Madrid Club de Futbol, commonly known as Real Madrid, is a professional football club based in Madrid, Spain).

Besides being a talented player, Zidane is also remembered for headbutting Italy’s Marco Materazzi’s chest in retaliation to Materazzi’s verbal provocation, in a World Cup match.

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Mandira Bedi asked Zidane how he got the nickname Zizou, and why it was not Zizi or Zuzu? Zidane said, “In French, you cannot say Zizi (it’s a slang for sexual organs). It was my trainer who called me ‘Zizou’ and then it caught on across the globe.” While the crowd cracked up laughing, Mandira sportingly vowed not to say the word again.

About his visit to India, Zidane said, “Though I’ve come here for the first time, I feel like I have known India for a very long time. With the love that I have been getting from my Indian fans who’ve supported me throughout my career as a player, I feel at home here. The food here is excellent, too. This is just the beginning and I hope to come back soon.”

He also spoke about his fondness for yoga. “India is the origin of yoga. I practise it every day to retain my concentration. I look at it as a sport and not just a medium for meditation. It helps me beat stress. I can sleep peacefully before a match day,” he explained.

After his much publicized stay in Mumbai, Zidane headed to Jaipur with his wife where he visited Amber Fort and City Palace. Zidane also picked up some cotton quilted jackets, clothes and home furnishing items – all in block print, from a shop.