ZINEDINE ZIDANE – THE FRENCH SOCCER STAR

Zinedine Zidane was born June 23, 1972, in Marseille, France. Zidane got his start in football (known as soccer in North America) at an early age, when he joined the US Saint-Henri club.

He moved on to Septemes Sports Olympiques after the coach convinced the director of the club to sign him. After leaving Septemes at the age of 14, Zidane participated in the first year junior selection for the league championship, the same year he was discovered.

OFF TO CANNES

He was called in for 3 days at the sport regional centre in Aix-en-Provence, where Jean Varraud, Cannes’ recruiter, noticed the French/Algerian player. He ventured off to Cannes for what was intended to be a six-week stay, but remained even longer. Playing with professionals at the age of 16, it would only be a matter of time when he too would turn pro, and he knew he was on his way to realizing his dreams.

Showing the determination of an athlete who wants to exceed expectations, Zidane had played his first game in First Division at the age of 17, and it was from then that football went from an ambition to a passion. The Cannes midfielder scored his first goal on February 8th, 1991 (he received a Clio as a promise from the Cannes President, who promised him a car when he scored his first goal as a professional), and his first season with the club was marked by a qualification for the UEFA Cup.

Zidane’s second season with Cannes wasn’t as promising, but on the non-professional front he met his future wife Veronique, a Spanish dancer. After a lukewarm 91-92 season, Zidane felt it was time for a change and switched to Bordeaux after he was asked to sign a four-year contract. Marseille also wanted Zidane, but Bordeaux proved to want him more.

KICKING & SOARING

His beginning with Bordeaux was hard on 24-year-old Zidane, as it forced him to adapt, but once he did, he did so with flying colours. Not only did Bordeaux qualify every year that Zidane played with the team, but Bordeaux also qualified for the UEFA Cup through Intertoto and went to the final in 95-96, Zidane’s last year with the team.

At the same time, Juventus sought out Zidane, and after his four crucial seasons with Bordeaux, he moved to Torino. Again, Zidane was forced to adapt to the Italian way of playing as well as to the lifestyle, but after his first year, he was a bona fide star.

It was with Juventus that Zidane won titles, as Winner of the 1996 European Super Cup, the 1996 European/South American Cup, Winner of the 1997 League Super Cup, named 1997 and 1998 Italy Champion, and Finalist of the 1997 and 1998 Champions League. His individual awards include the Golden Ball in 1998, and he was named Best Player of the Year by the FIFA in 1998 and 2000.MOST EXPENSIVE FOOTBALL PLAYER

In 2001, Zizou became the most expensive player in football history when Real Madrid acquired him for 46 million pounds (roughly $66 million US Dollars). Even if he does have to adapt to the Spanish way of life, he certainly won’t have to adapt to being the star player, nor the award winner.

Zinedine and Veronique have two sons, Enzo (named after Enzo Francescoli) and Luca. In addition to promoting a slew of sports products, Zidane is also Christian Dior’s first male model.

Checkout the ASCII Art of  Zinedine Zidane in the below link. Please use Lucida Console font to view the art in Notepad. Before that in Notepad go to Format and Uncheck the Word Warp and then Go to Font and Reduce the Font Size to 3 to 4 pt. Use only Lucida Console Font.

http://www.4shared.com/document/iDP9th5V/Zinedine_Zidane_ASCII.html

DAVID BECKHAM – THE ENGLISH FOOTBALLER

David was born on May 2, 1975 in Leytonstone, London to Ted and Sandra Beckham. David’s parents were Manchester United supporters and he accompanied then to many of the games. He signed for Manchester United as a trainee in July 1991 and he was instrumental in helping the club win the FA Youth Cup in May 1992, scoring in the second leg of the final against Crystal Palace. On September 23, 1992, David made his first team debut as a substitute in the Rumbelows Cup tie at Brighton and Hove Albion.During the two-and-a-half year wait to make his League debut, he collected a runners-up medal in the 1993 FA Youth Cup (United lost to Leeds in the final) and a reserve team championship medal in 1994. He also played five matches on loan for Preston North End, scoring two goals for the Lancashire club. His Premier League debut eventually came at home to Leeds United on April 2, 1995. Partially as a result of injuries to key starters, David established himself in the first team during the 1995/96 season.David played predominantly in the right midfield position that used to be occupied by Andrei Kanchelskis, and started to show the knack for scoring great goals, including the winner in the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea. At the end of the season Man United walked away with their second Double. The springboard that launched Davids’s famous career came during the 1996/97 season. David was compared to Pele when he scored his most famous goal – from the halfway line against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park. He went on to earn his first senior cap for England, on September 1, 1996 against Moldova in Kishinev.David’s match-winning performances during 1996/97 helped United to win another Premiership title and reach the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League. On a personal level, he was voted Young Player of the Year and second in the overall Player of the Year poll. Manchester United’s 1997/98 season was one to forget as they finished second to Arsenal in the League, lost to Barnsley in the FA Cup and were knocked out of the Champions League quarter-finals by Monaco. David enjoyed a memorable moment, when he was selected for England’s World Cup Finals squad.

During the 1998 World Cup Finals Beck scored a stunning freekick for England against Colombia and was hailed a national hero. He was later branded a villain, however, when he was sent off for a foul on Diego Simeone as England were knocked out in the second round by Argentina. That was the first red card of his career. The World Cup Finals left David at the bottom of his career. He was a hated man in England and many predicted the end of his football areer. He mustered up the courage and resilience to bounce back and prove his critcs wrong. In the first League game of the 1998/99 season against Leicester City, he curled in one of his trademark freekicks in stoppage time to prevent defeat.

If England’s 1998 World Cup campaign was the depth of dispair for Beckham, them Manchester United’s successful Trebble season in 1998/1999 was the height of ecstacy. The most important match of that season was the UEFA Champions League Finals with Bayern Munich. Manchester’s 2 goals were scored off corner kicks taken by David Beckham in overtime. The goals were scored by substitutes Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. England eventually forgave Beckham for his 1998 World Cup sins and readily accepted him as the captain of the national team.

Beckham captained England for the first time in a friendly match in Italy and retained the armband for the friendly with Spain and the World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Finland, against whom he scored an important goal at Anfield. He went on to lead to team to the 2002 World Cup Finals. In the game against Argentina, he scored the only goal – a penalty after Michaels Owens was tripped up. Argentina had a premature exit from the tournament after drawing 1-1 with Sweden in their next match.

The 2002/03 season was not a memorable one for Beckham as he found himself on the bench for some key matches. In a bizarre incident, he was struck on the forehead by a stray boot that was kicked in frustration by Sir Alex Ferguson in the dressing room. Rumors that he and the boss were not on speaking terms fueled the speculation that he would be sold at the end on the season. Unfortunately for many Manchester United fans, the rumors turned out to be true. David Beckham was sold to Real Madrid for £25 million. After more than 3 years at the Bernabeu, Beckham moved to the USA. David Beckham agreed to a £128million ($250 million) five-year deal with the LA Galaxy. Beckham already has a soccer academy in Los Angeles which shares a home with the Galaxy.

Checkout the ASCII Art of David Beckham in the below link. Please use Lucida Console font to view the art in Notepad. Before that in Notepad go to Format and Uncheck the Word Warp and then Go to Font and Reduce the Font Size to 3 to 4 pt. Use only Lucida Console Font.

http://www.4shared.com/document/LfY_uVjW/David_Beckham_ASCII.html

ROBINHO – THE BRAZILIAN PEARL

Robson de Souza (born January 25, 1984 in Sao Vicente, Brazil), nicknamed Robinho (Little Robson), is a Brazilian footballer currently playing for Real Madrid and the Brazilian national team. Robinho has earned praise for his expert use of the pedalada and field speed. He is widely regarded as one of the best young players in the world.

Born in Parque Bitaru, a poor neighborhood of Sao Vicente, Robinho took to playing football when he had little other. At six, Robinho was taken on by Beira-Mar, a local escolinha, and they took the championship in his first year. Robinho was claimed to look just like his teammate Marcelo, the spanish fans called them “the two twins”.

In 1993, at the age of nine, Robinho drew attention by scoring 73 goals for the Portuerios futsal team. Robinho joined the Santos youth program, at the time was overseen by Brazilian football legend Pele. Pele brought Robinho into the Santos FC youth dorms, where Robinho received his first regular schedule of three meals a day.

In 2002, Robinho graduated to the Santos first team. His work at the front helped them win the Brazilian National Championships in 2002 and 2004, as well as place second to Boca Juniors in the 2003 Copa Libertadores. Robinho’s contributions to Santos attracted a great deal of attention from the top European football clubs. A world class player that looks to be on the verge of a European move.

Robinho’s skill drew the offers of several European clubs, but it took the kidnapping of his mother in late 2004 to convince him to leave. On July 31, 2005, Robinho signed with Real Madrid for five years at $30 million and joined his fellow Brazilian internationals Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Jalio Baptista. He made his La Liga debut on August 28 in a 2-1 victory against Cadiz as a second half substitute for Thomas Gravesen. In his first season, Robinho scored eight goals, but the arrival of Josa Antonio Reyes has brought the length of Robinho’s stay into question. One of his most recent performances though, in the “El Clesico” against Barcelona, which he earned the Man of the Match award may have impressed Fabio Capello. It has been reported that on 12th February Robinho may be allowed to leave Real Madrid for a fee of $30 million at the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Robinho backed again that decision saying he’d like to prove himself that he is capable of impressing his coach and teammates.

NATIONAL TEAM

In 2003, Robinho was called up to join the prestigious ranks of the Brazilian national football team. His first international appearance came in the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup final, where despite his team’s loss, Robinho displayed his talent on the international stage.

Robinho played in each game of the 2006 FIFA World Cup group stage, but only started in the final game against Japan. Many fans say he should be on the starting lineup, but his small size is a disadvantage when playing against bigger players. However, whenever he had the playing chance he showed impressive signs and managed to dribble past even the world class defenders.

MEDIA COVERAGE

Like many talented young Brazilian footballers, Robinho has been compared to his nation’s great players by both fans and the sports media. Robinho’s footwork and mercurial speed has many believing that he can carry on the mantle of Pele, Garrincha and Romario in Brazilian football.

As of late, fans have also begun to foment a potential rivalry between Robinho and Argentinian striker Lionel Messi, who has been hailed as a wonderkid in football, and therefore a natural counterpart to Robinho. Contrasts between the two include the fact that they each represent rival Latin American football powerhouses (Brazil and Argentina) they play opposite each other in the premiere rival clubs of La Liga (Robinho for Real Madrid and Messi for FC Barcelona) and interestingly, there are the comparisons to the greatest living footballers in the world (Messi has been hailed by Argentinian fans and media as “the new Maradona” and Robinho with Pele). He has never gone on record to say his club football desires, yet there has been speculation that he would like to go to either Italy or England in the future.

Robinho also shares the same birthday as the legendary Portuguese football player, Eusebio. In February, 2007, Robinho was quoted as saying “Reports that I’d move to Tottenham are wide of the mark. If I had to leave Real, I’d choose to join another a big club. I don’t regard Tottenham Hotspur as a big club.”

Checkout the ASCII Art of Robinho in the below link. Please use Lucida Console font to view the art in Notepad. Before that in Notepad go to Format and Uncheck the Word Warp and then Go to Font and Reduce the Font Size to 3 to 4 pt. Use only Lucida Console Font.

http://www.4shared.com/document/BIUY8-gQ/Robinho_ASCII.html

KAKA – THE BRAZILIAN MIDFIELDER

Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite (born April 22, 1982 in Brasília, Brazil), simply known as Kaká, is a Brazilian footballer who plays as a midfielder for Brazil and the Serie A club A.C. Milan. He is one of the budding young stars in world football.

FAMILY

Kaká’s younger brother Rodrigo Izecson Dos Santos Leite, known as Digão, followed in his brother’s footsteps and is currently on loan with Serie B team Rimini, after having spent some time in the AC Milan youth squad.

NICKNAME

The nickname Kaká, from his native Portuguese, is pronounced as it is spelt. The accent would signify that the stress is on the second syllable. In Italian, the language of his current team, the phonetic equivalent is written as Kakà, which is used for Italian television graphics. However, the player’s shirt name is spelt KAKA’ (with an apostrophe, rather than an accented ‘A’) for both Brazil and Milan.  An internet discussion forum explains the nickname as a commonly used shortened form of “Ricardo” in Portuguese. Kaká is supposed to have got his nickname because his little brother Rodrigo could not pronounce the word “Ricardo” when they were young. Rodrigo called his older brother “Caca\ Kaká suffered an accident when he made a faulty jump off a diving-board, resulting in a vertebra fracture. This could have meant the end of his football career, but he believes that Jesus allowed him to recover and become the successful footballer he is now. When AC Milan won the Serie A title in 2004, Ricky, as he is called by his team-mates, sported a shirt with an “I Belong to Jesus” slogan. He also points his fingers to the sky as a sign of thanks every time he scores, for apparently the same reason.

MARRIAGE

Kaká married Caroline Celico on 23 December 2005 at the evangelical Reborn in Christ Church in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in a wedding attended by fellow players from his national team, as well as other well known international players. Guests included Ronaldo, Adriano, Cafu, Dida, Julio Baptista and Brazilian national coach Carlos Alberto Parreira. Caroline and Kaká first met in 2002, and started dating soon after. The relationship survived Kaká’s move from Sao Paulo to Italy in 2003, while Caroline was still at school. It is likely that Caroline will stay in Brazil in the short-run, but the couple plan to live together in Italy very soon.

Checkout the ASCII Art of Kaka in the below link. Please use Lucida Console font to view the art in Notepad. Before that in Notepad go to Format and Uncheck the Word Warp and then Go to Font and Reduce the Font Size to 3 to 4 pt. Use only Lucida Console Font.

http://www.4shared.com/document/dvygl67D/Kaka_ASCII.html