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What Has The Unemployed Zidane Been Up To Now?

He still dreams of the French National Team.

In the summer of 2021, Zinedine Zidane left Real Madrid, and since then, he has been without a job. The coach took a break because the workload at the Madrid club was insane – over the years with the team, he had become quite exhausted. Days started at 8 in the morning and ended at 11 at night: training sessions, tactical analysis work, video analysis, personal talks with players, trips – and so on almost every day.

"When I came home, my head was still there," Zidane told GQ in an interview last summer. "All the information comes to you, and you are responsible for making decisions. It drains your energy. I like what I do and can work a lot, but I need to switch off from time to time (and this happened to me twice). Today, I enjoy life – I have time to visit my parents, have lunch with my wife and children, and spend time with friends. All this is possible only by taking a step back. My life still goes 200 miles per hour, but I feel great."

Zidane has opened sports centers and regularly plays padel

Zizou is actively involved in sports: he runs, plays football with friends, and constantly runs around the padel court. The Padel Tennis is something between tennis and squash. It is trendy in Italy and Spain, where Zidane learned to play it. As a result, the sport became part of his leisure life and later part of his business: with his family, he opened the Z5 sports center, where you can engage in football and padel.

"When I stopped playing football, my brothers and I discussed what we could do together," he said. "And we said we know football best. So we decided to start with seven fields, including three indoors. And 10 years later, we added four padel tracks."

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Since then, the network of sports centers has grown: three in France, one in Italy, and another recently opened in Spain. In addition to football fields and padel courts, there are dance studios, restaurants, Adidas stores (Zidane is the face of the brand), and even nurseries where you can send children.

By the way, Zidane is not the only one who fell in love with the padel: Francesco Totti has his center in Italy, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic has one in Sweden.

He celebrated his 50th birthday, gave a few significant interviews, and appeared publicly several times

In June 2022, Zizou celebrated his anniversary – no grand celebration, just a table in the garden and the closest people.

"Life goes on. What's strange for me is that when I was 20-25, I saw people at 50 as so old. Now it's not like that anymore. Life has smoothed out this age. In my head, I'm still a big child! I want to enjoy everything. Every moment. That's why I love my life. I'm not a typical person.

In honor of a significant date, he gave a six-hour interview to L'Equipe, in which he shared his innermost desire: to one day become the coach of the French national team. "Of course, I want this," he said. "When? That depends not on me. But I want to complete the circle with the French team: I was a player in it, and it was the most beautiful thing that happened to me. Truly! That's the pinnacle. Today, a team has its own goals, but if the opportunity presents itself later, I will be there. I have a strong desire for it to happen."

Six months after this interview, the French Football Federation extended the contract with Didier Deschamps. However, there were many rumors that Zidane would eventually become the national team's new coach. Federation president Noël Le Graët was so pleased with what happened that he went on RMC radio and detailed the negotiations with Deschamps: "We've been together for 10 years; Deschamps could have said he's leaving. It didn't happen. He came to Guingamp on Thursday, and we reached an agreement that same evening." When asked about Zidane, the official became defensive and responded ungraciously: "I never talked to him about this; we never thought about parting ways with Deschamps. Zinedine can go wherever he wants. Has Zidane tried to contact me? I wouldn't even pick up the phone if he called. Tell him to look for another club? Maybe organize a special competition for him to find a new job?"

After many French players, including Kylian Mbappé, stood up for Zidane, Le Graët apologized, saying that he shouldn't have spoken that way and shouldn't pit the "two pillars of French football" against each other.

Zidane, however, did not comment on the situation. He appeared publicly, starred in Adidas commercials, and signed sponsorship contracts. He became an ambassador for the Formula-1 team "Alpine". He began working on the EA Sports FC FUTURES program, which supports grassroots football worldwide. It is currently being implemented at Zidane's sports center in Provence, helping children from disadvantaged families afford to play football.

Last summer, Zidane gave another extensive interview to GQ. In addition to a fashionable photoshoot, the magazine published a candid conversation with the football star, in which the topic of working with the French national team was raised again. Zizou was less accommodating this time: "Yes, I still want this, but I don't know when it will happen." In the same summer, Zidane became a sponsor of a French organization building a hospice for children with cancer. At the event where this was announced, he gave a speech, thanked the mayor of Istres, and ended up in tears - his older brother died of cancer in 2019.

Zidane went to Miami to watch Messi's match and interviewed Messi

Stars often gathered at Inter Miami matches, and Zidane was no exception. One day, while Zizou was in Florida, he met Messi - and their conversation was very heartfelt and warm. Zidane admitted that he would like to play with Leo on the same team, to which the Argentine replied, adding that he had always admired the Frenchman, even though it wasn't easy for a Barcelona player. Zizou described Messi's game in one word: "Magic."

The legends exchanged mutual compliments and then discussed modern football: the disappearance of playmakers and the systematization of the game. They then discussed their idols (Messi named Diego Maradona, Zidane named Enzo Francescoli) and a short, rapid-fire round.

There are many rumors about the future, but there are no real options

Since Zidane left Real Madrid, he has been linked to the French national team, the Brazilian national team, Manchester United, and even Manchester City. He declined England because he didn't know English, and he didn't go to PSG because he continued to dream of working with the French national team. Last summer, the Parisian club tried again to approach Zidane, offering him a high salary. Still, he declined again because he didn't like the club's management system.

Now, Zidane is ready to return to work, but he still has no offers that suit him. Apparently, he will wait for a call from the French Football Federation to finally fulfill his dream.

Published by Patrick Jane