Zinedine Zidane has been an icon at Real Madrid, both as a player and now as a coach too.
Always doing things on his own terms, he left his playing career in the most famous circumstances – walking off after receiving a red card in the 2006 World Cup final.
Not long before that, he had played his last game for Real Madrid, a 3-3 draw with Villareal. He actually had a year left to go on his contract, but in typical Zizou fashion decided to go out on his own terms a year early.
Cicinho, who was in the dressing room at the time, shared on Goal.com his memories of that evening
“In his farewell match, Zidane was very emotional. We were also as he was a legend who was leaving the game,” the right back said.
“Then, Florentino Perez came into the dressing room and greeted the players one by one. What happened next was unforgettable.
“Real Madrid’s highest salary at the time was €6.5m. Robinho jokingly said: ‘Mr. President, Zizou said that if you sign a two-year contract for €6.5 million, he won’t stop playing’.
“Everyone laughed, but Florentino was serious and replied: ‘If you want, I will bring you the paper now so that you can sign it’.
“Zidane thought about it for a second, looked at him and said, ‘No, no… I don’t want any more’.”
It’s a typical Zidane story, and sure enough he got his chance to return to the Bernabeu, although this time on the sidelines. He more than repaid Florentino’s faith in him over the years. That €6.5m would probably have been worth it anyway, but the three Champions Leagues and the La Liga title the France star has brought Perez since are worth a whole lot more than that.