As France face losing Zidane’s son to Spain, OTP looks at the long list of those touted as Zizou’s successors
1. Samir Nasri
Skillful attack-minded midfielder born in Marseille to a family of Algerian descent – it is not hard to see where the comparisons have come from. Has not had an outstanding first season at Arsenal, but Arsene Wenger could be the man to help Nasri reach his potential.
2. Hatem Ben Arfa
Ben Arfa existed in a parallel universe – replace Algerian with Tunisian, and replace Marseille with Lyon. He has sinced moved to Marseille, despite long-standing links with both Arsenal and Manchester United. At 22, he needs to start delivering on the big-stage soon. But then Zidane was 24 before he moved to Juventus.
3. Enzo Zidane
The biological heir to the crown. Zidane Jnr has only just turned 14, but it is hard not to think of bigger things to come when you see him in action.
4. Yoann Gourcuff
Gourcuff lacks the ethnic comparisons of some of Zidane’s other supposed successors, but in terms of presence and posture on the pitch he is a dead ringer. And his face is arguably a bit more marketable than Zizou’s! Struggled to make an impact at AC Milan, but certainly has done during his loan stint at Bordeaux.
5. Madin Mohammed
You know, the six-year-old Algerian kid…
6. Sofiane Feghouli
Inter Milan, Chelsea and Liverpool are among the clubs rumoured to be watching this 19-year-old. His club, Grenoble, have slapped a €30m price tag on their prize asset and blocked moves in January. Another player of Algerian descent.
7. Adel Taarabt
The Moroccan-born Spurs youngster’s agent has publicly touted him as the new Zidane, and unlike others on this list Taarabt has not played these comparisons down. He said: “I am hoping to become that but it is my agent’s opinion.” He was frozen out at Spurs by Juande Ramos, brought in from the cold by Harry Redknapp, and promptly sent on-loan to QPR.
8. Karim Benzema
A completely different player to Zidane, Benzema’s north African roots meant that he was still unable to avoid the new Zidane tag. Along with Ben Arfa, is another of the big three of French football still waiting for their big move.
9. Paul O’Neill
Just days after the 2006 World Cup final, jockey Paul O’Neill recreated its most infamous moment with the aid of his horse.
10. Franck Ribery
He may not have the capabilities of reaching the levels that Zizou did, but Ribery is a fantastic talent and has become a sort of stop-gap Zizou. Pin-up boy he ain’t, but he is holding the fort down while the next generation get their act together.