Everyone knows that Zidane has kept busy, albeit with a lower profile, since retiring from footy after "the incident." He's been hilariously linked to MLS squads, been used as evidence, and been turned away from comforting his friends. In France, however, Zizou will always be a legend, and the French media continually chase after him to ask him loads of useless questions.
But this time around, Le Parisien decided to do something a little different and they got Zizou to agree to be "interviewed" by some of their readers. Some of the notable questions and answers, translated for you below:
Q: You have recently been criticized in several books, notably that of Jerome Rothen, who says that you insulted him during a European club match. What is your reaction?
A: I haven't really wanted to respond before now, since I have better things to do. With everything happening in the world today, there are more important things. (Ed. note - pretty standard so far). That's his (Rothen's) version of the story, not mine. I know where it comes from, and I've said some stupid things in my life, but on that day (emphasis mine; so, is Zizou saying that he has insulted Rothen on another day?) I did not say that to him. But it bothers me that this comes out in a book when we have crossed paths 5 or 6 times and he never said anything to me about it. I called him and left a message, but didn't hear back. And then I hear that he said it was all taken care of.
(Ed. note - the alleged nasty words from Zizou to Rothen were "son of a whore", which sounds awfully familiar).
Q: Your ex-teammate Emmanuel Petit wasn't very nice to you either.
A: With Petit it's the same thing, even worse because I know him so much better. I hate it when people aren't honest, and he is being a hypocrite because he does the same thing as me. I do what I want with my life.
(Ed. note - Petit has accused Zidane of "chasing money" and only doing things in retirement for large companies/events).
Q: What do you think of "La Marseillaise" being whistled at the friendlies against Morocco and Tunisia?
A: I think it is an indefensible act.
Q (follow-up): Do you think it is a reflection of the difficulties in France regarding immigration and generational issues?
A: It's like racism in the stands - it's a few people (maybe 400 or 500) who are spoiling things. I don't know how to stop it, but I don't think that stopping the match is the solution. In fact, that might make things worse.
Q: Do you miss Les Bleus?
A: I will always miss the pitch. (Ed. note - notice he didn't say that he would miss the team, as there is no love lost with Domenech). I am taking care of my family, which I haven't been able to do for 17 years. But I will return to football, since it is what I do best.
Q: Yoann Gourcuff has been touted as your successor. Is that too much weight for anyone's shoulders?
A: There will always be comparisons. Gourcuff has a brilliant future, and I love the fact that when he is on the pitch he is playing for the team.
Q: What are your impressions on the election of Barack Obama?
A: In France, people aren't ready for a black president. In terms of success for the people, it's easier to be an athlete or rapper (Ed. note - hey, just like the US!).
Q: Have you ever used a performance-enhancing drug?
A: When I was at Juventus, we all took creatine, which is prohibited in France but legal in Italy. I don't think it was dangerous.
So there you have it. Zizou doesn't care for the literary exploits of Rothen and Petit, thinks immigration in France is still a big issue but whistling the national anthem is disgraceful, feels that America has progressed further regarding civil rights, and popped creatine during his days at Juventus.
By far, the best part of the interview for me was the following:
"Est-ce que tu… est-ce que vous pensez… (Zidane l’interrompt : « Tu peux me tutoyer ». « Ah c’est cool, répond Djordje, je tutoie Zizou, t’as vu ! ».)"
This was from the person who asked him about "La Marseillaise." In France, people use the "vous" form of "you" when speaking formally or to someone whom they don't know, and the "tu" form when speaking informally or to someone they know well (although there are generational differences in these patterns, with youngsters more likely to use "tu" for everyone). So, basically, the reader starts to ask the question using the informal "tu", catches himself and then starts over using "vous." But Zizou interrupts him and tells him that he doesn't have to be so formal, and the guy gets all giddy.
To be fair, if I were speaking face-to-face with Zizou and he said that to me, I think I would faint.