France legend Zinedine Zidane was in Paris on Monday to open a playground for the next generation of French kids to enjoy playing sport and maybe one day follow in his footsteps.
The playground, built and opened in partnership with global giants adidas, is located close to the Stade de France on the outskirts of Paris.
Image by Luke Pawley
The opening marks 20 years of France’s 1998 World Cup win, which was only made possible by a stunning performance from Zidane in the final of the competition against Brazil.
Zidane met up with some of his 1998 France teammates to open the playground, including Laurent Blanc, Fabien Barthez, Robert Pires, Yuri Djorkaeff and Christian Karembeu.
The floor of the playground has been spectacularly designed to look like the number 10 shirt that Zidane wore in the iconic victory 20 years ago.
At the opening, Zidane explained important the facility can be to local children in the area and that it is a step up from the facilities he had as a youngster.
“We did not have that kind of place when we were young,” Zidane told Le Parisien at the grand opening. We took two t-shirts to make the goals and that’s it. But these neighborhoods deserve to have infrastructures of this kind.”
He added: “I consider myself an example for this youth,” says Zidane. “We all consider each other as examples. Because even if our life has changed, we leave neighborhoods. I know where I come from. The story, my story started a few steps from here.
“A very long time ago, my dad did not work very far from the stadium of France which did not exist yet. To have won here twenty years ago, to come back today to inaugurate this place, it is fabulous.”
Image by Luke Pawley
Meanwhile, a young local girl explained what the playground meant to her and her peers, saying: “I was not born in 1998. But when we love football, we love Zidane. It’s wonderful to be able to see it. This is the reference. And it’s great to have a sports field in his name. This place of sharing and conviviality is a very good idea.”