Zinedine Zidane: a French anti-racism icon from the World Cup

Zinedine Zidane became, after winning the World Cup in 1998, an anti-racism icon of France. He was the first captain of the Moroccan national team and an example for the country

Zinedine Zidane is still an icon in his country. In France changed the way of thinking of an entire generation. Led the Blues in the first World Cup they won, in 1998, which meant a before and after in French football. The whole country turned to its national team, a mix of players born in France in their vast majority but with different origins. "Black, Blanc, beur" (White, Black, Arabic) was the way to define this group, in which Zidane was the big star.

In Paris, in the Institute of the Arab World, they have made a football exhibition in the Arab countries and Zidane is one of the great protagonists. His explosion with the Blue shirt made him an anti-racist icon in France. It was the example that the different races that inhabit the Gallic country can coexist and be equal, can choose to realize their dreams and reach the highest. Zidane became the first Maghrebi to wear the bracelet and no one argued about it. He was the leader and the best player France had ever seen. In the exhibition, the conciliatory role of Zidane in those years is explained. It was not a question of colors, as the slogan said, they were all French.

The World Cup coincided with a period of economic growth and low unemployment, at a time when the coexistence of right-wing president Jacques Chirac and the prime minister from left, Lionel Jospin, was acclaimed by the public. I wanted to believe a multicultural France where community, racial, cultural or social struggles did not exist. And Zidane was the great example of that. It was a way to create a society with these values of integration, a mixed society, in the image of the French team. And it worked, at least for a while. In 2001, the Federation wanted to continue with that line and organized a match against Algeria, Zidane's country of origin, which ended badly. He started whistling at the Marseillaise and, in the 73rd minute, they made a field invision and faced the police. It was the first friendly between the two countries, I wanted it to be the peace party.

Zidane was one of the great protagonists and he did everything to make it appear that coexistence was possible. He took a child out of the hand to make the initial kick-off, he greeted two kisses with Madjer, the Algerian coach. He was correct, gentlemanly. Even in costumes he stopped to sign autographs to the Algerian players. But it was a fiasco. The Madrid coach is still an anti-racist icon in France, his country of birth, who can live with his country of origin. The colors do not distinguish us and that is what Zizou has always defended. In the last World Cup in Russia only 18 years ago, of the 23 selected, they had ancestry that was not from the French country and many of them with dual nationality. Zidane opened the way and remains the anti-racist icon of France ...

Photos from as.com
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