A Few Words With Zinedine Zidane

There are some times when you can’t help reverting from journalist to fan.

Meeting and talking to Pele at the opening of Home Depot Center in 2003 courtesy of AEG was one of them; interviewing Zinidene Zidane Saturday in El Segundo via a French language interpreter thanks to adidas was another.

Here’s our (brief) interview.

Question: Is it conceivable you could come out of retirement and play for Major League Soccer?
Answer: As of today I would say no. It’s true I’ve had offers since I retired from my career three years ago. And I can assure you I’ve been tempted by the offers. I took the decision not to return. And maybe in 10 years I might regret it.

Q: What did you think of the U.S. upset of Spain at the Confederations Cup?
A: The U.S. played very well. Spain was maybe a little off. It proves the soccer in the United States is coming to another level.

Q: Do you think there is prejudice against American players in Europe?
A: Yes, I do. I would say here in the United States the game isn’t exactly up to par – that it’s still a little behind. But things can change in the future. I think there are talented players in the United States. (And here I think the translation completely broke down, but to paraphrase I believe he said “that will change when U.S. National Team players also play for the best European clubs and that was the case when France won the World Cup in 1998). We had all the best players; they were all belonging to the best European teams.

Q: What American player has most impressed you?
A: He’s the one who represents soccer in the U.S. – (Landon) Donovan. In fact, he played abroad in Germany, no? I knew him a little bit when he was playing over there.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!