If he's half as good as his old man, the boy Zidane will be some player for Real Madrid. That's if the French and Spanish federations don't pull him in half first.
Enzo Zidane, the 16-year-old son of France legend Zinedine, trained publicly with the Real Madrid first-team for the first time this week. Our kid played in front of Jose Mourinho and alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, with Real's official website stating that he "perfectly adapted to the group" and confirming that his father - now the club's first-team director - watched on from the sidelines.
If Enzo Zidane Fernández has inherited Daddy’s superior skills as well as his familiar moody scowl then the young footballer could become quite the player, one day.
The photograph of the midfielder on Real Madrid’s website shows the frowning face of an ever-so-slightly monobrowed, intense 16-year-old - just another of the hundreds of talented wannabe superstars on the books of the one of the world’s most glamorous clubs.
But the teenager is no ordinary member of the Real Madrid ‘cantera’ or youth system thanks to his rather famous father who is now set to take a more active role at the club serving as José Mourinho’s link to the omnipotent, but clearly not omnipresent, Florentino Pérez. As well as giving Karim Benzema someone to talk to whilst on the Bernabeu bench, perhaps.
It’s a position that will also give the former Madrid maestro a chance to keep a beady eye on the progress fn Enzo and another of his sons, Luca - a goalkeeper stashed away in the youth ranks at the club’s out-of-town Valdebebas training centre.
Rather than being left well alone to make the immensely difficult transition from promising youngster to contender to player, the young Zidane has found himself caught in a nationalist-tinged tug-of-love between the land he was born in - and the one his father played for - and Spain, his mother’s country and where Enzo has spent much of his life.
In the very near future, Zidane Junior will be forced to make a choice between the two countries competing for his affections with his performances for Real Madrid being impressive enough to have alerted youth team managers in both Spain and France.
“He’s very much like his father in his football, especially in his movement,” claims Santi Cañizares, now a pundit on youth football for Spanish TV station, Canal Plus. “On the field he’s the same, he’s a central midfielder with the same freedom.”
“He’s very much like his father in his football, especially in his movement,” Santi Cañizares
However, having a fancy-pants footballing father doesn’t necessarily mean that he will make the successful leap to turning pro and wearing the same number 10 shirt as his head-butting big daddy, claims the former Valencia goalkeeper, Cañizares. “He’s still a long way from the professional world.”
But this hasn’t stopped constant speculation in the French and Spanish media over which side Enzo Zidane will choose when the phone call-up finally comes. “The kid will decide in his own time who he wants to play for,” says an understanding François Blaquart, head of youth development at the French FA.
“He still hasn’t been selected by France or Spain,” said his father to French television. “I think it’s better this way.”
Besides, there is always the chance for a change in heart later down the line for Enzo as according to FIFA regulations, a footballer with dual nationalities can switch allegiances before the age of 21 as long as an appearance hasn’t been made at the international ‘A’ level.
This sees Zidane-junior being able to hedge his bets for another six years or so and checking out the potential midfield competition to come when both he and the world has a better idea of just how much of his father’s talent he has taken onboard.
Whilst Enzo has already become a YouTube footballer at the age of just 15 - with his father’s trademark ‘roulette’ spin already being used on opposition players - the speculation of how good a player the Zidanette will be is nothing compared to what another young Madridileño will be suffering in a decade’s time - a wee toddler going by the name of Leonel Agüero Maradona.
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