In this of all weeks, there would be no need to dredge the archive for an image of Zinedine Zidane as a conquering, trophy-clutching hero.
But long before he led Real Madrid to La Undécima, becoming just the seventh man to lift the European Cup as player and coach, Zidane was the centre of attention for making a different kind of history. And with France in 1998, rather than continuing a proud tradition, he was ending a long wait.
Les Bleus had never won the FIFA World Cup™ prior to that July evening at the Stade de France and with Brazil, the holders and favourites, their Final opponents, few expected them to end that drought. Fewer still would have predicted the manner in which they managed it.
Zidane, after all, was a player of many and varied talents. Heading, though, was not among them. Yet he inspired France’s famous win by not once, but twice, bulleting in corners like it was his personal speciality.
“I’ve never been very good with my head,” he acknowledged afterwards, “but thankfully I managed to get it right – twice! It's fabulous to score two goals in the final. There's nothing better.”
His coach, Aime Jacquet, was not nearly so surprised, viewing those headers as a manifestation of his star player’s mental strength. "Zidane has extraordinary gifts,” said Jacquet. “He has an internal vision and can make the ball do whatever he wants. But what sets him apart is his drive and we saw that against Brazil. Heading is not his forte, but he was determined to get to those corners and he did.”
Did you know?
A shirt worn by Zidane at France 1998 and the pennant from the Final itself number among the unique artefacts on display at the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich.