A true Galactico: A look at Zinedine Zidane’s transfer from Juventus to Real Madrid
Between 2000 and 2004, Real Madrid made a host of signings that shook the football world to its core. They signed big names like Luis Figo, Ronaldo de Lima, David Beckham, Michael Owen and many more for prices that were unheard of in football history at the time.
Zinedine Zidane joined the Galacticos in 2001 for a hefty price of €77.5 million, a price that was almost €20 million more than what was paid for Luis Figo the season before and almost double the amount paid Ronaldo de Lima the season after.
The most expensive buys before Zidane in world football asides fellow Galactico Luis Figo were Hernan Crespo, signed by Lazio for €56 million in 2000; Christian Vieri, signed by Inter Milan in 1999 for €46 million; and Denilson, signed by Real Betis Balompie in 1999 for €31 million.
The jump to €70 million was world-breaking at the time, as many squads cost that amount in total.
No football club would be able to match or even break that record for the next eight years until Real Madrid – again – paid in excess of €90 million to Manchester United to secure the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo.
How did Zidane’s move work out for Real Madrid?
Florentino Perez was in his first tenure as Real Madrid president during this mega signing, fulfilling his promise to Los Blancos fans about attracting the world’s best players to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Prior to Zidane’s signing, the Frenchman was already a world and European champion. He was also a Ballon d’or winner and a two-time FIFA best men’s Player of the Year award winner.
Zidane was already an established player in Juventus with club awards and titles to his name, and was talked about in the world of football as often as discussions on talented players were had.
Zidane came in to become the creator-in-chief of Madrid and even after the likes of David Beckham and Ronaldo arrived, he remained the main man.
He scored 37 goals and provided 50 assists in 151 LaLiga games across five seasons. But his most memorable moment came in the Champions League final in the year he was signed.
With the game tied at 1-1 between Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen, Zidane struck a beautiful volley with his left foot that nestled itself in the top corner of Leverkusen’s net. That goal still remains one of the best goals in the tournament’s history.
Zidane will be remembered fondly by Real Madrid fans for his time as a player but mostly for his time as the club’s manager. He made up for winning only three trophies with Los Blancos during his playing career by winning eight trophies in three seasons as manager of the club.
In his time as manager, Zidane won three Champions League titles back-to-back between 2006 and 2018, taking Real Madrid six titles clear of the team with the second most Champions League titles, AC Milan.
His transfer proved to be the most important move which Perez made, as he played crucial roles in their record-breaking and record-setting history as both a player and a coach.