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It Almost Happened: Zinedine Zidane to Blackburn Rovers

Zinedine Zidane during his time with Juventus in the Serie A.

Welcome to a new series of articles from Last Word on Football. Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at the transfers, sackings, appointments, and more that almost happened in football, changing the game we all know and love.

Today we look back at when midfield maestro Zinedine Zidane almost signed for Blackburn Rovers.

It Could Have Been Very Different: Zinedine Zidane To Blackburn Rovers

Watch: Football Fans are Being Lied To

Zinedine Zidane: A Midfielder Of A Generation

Zidane is known as one of the best midfielders of his generation. Most famously playing for Juventus and Real Madrid. He is one of nine players who have won the Ballon d’Or, the World Cup, and the Champions League. The mercurial attacking midfielder is considered one of France’s best-ever players alongside the likes of Thierry Henry and Michel Platini.

Read More: It Almost Happened: 18-Year-Old Cristiano Ronaldo Joins Arsenal

It wasn’t just his playstyle which he is known for, Zizou often showed up on the biggest stage. He led France to a World Cup final victory over Brazil in 1998, a match in which he scored the first two goals on the way to a 3-0 win. He scored his most famous goal, a stunning volley from outside the box, in the 2002 Champions League Final against Bayer Leverkusen.

It Could Have Been Very Different

Zidane was breaking out at Bordeaux when Blackburn made their approach. Rovers had just come off winning a title in the 1994/95 season and looked to build on a squad that included a front line of Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton. Their owner at the time, Jack Walker, was known to splash the cash when he wanted.

But when the Frenchman was available, Walker reportedly said “ Why do you want to sign Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood.” In hindsight, this may not have been the best way forward for the club.

Read More: It Almost Happened: Diego Maradona Signs For Sunderland

The following season Blackburn failed to remain at the top of the table, finishing seventh and 21 points off champions Manchester United. The following seasons saw 13th and 6th place finishes respectively. They were then relegated in the 1998/99 season, just 4 seasons after being at the top of English football.

The potential of Zidane playing behind Alan Shearer surely would’ve been enough to dominate English Football for years to come if this transfer went through. Unfortunately for Blackburn fans, this sliding doors moment will always be theoretical.


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