In anticipation of Zinedine Zidane's first game in charge as head coach of Real Madrid, we look back on one of his greatest goals as a player - a goal which came in a timely manner against Super Depor. It was 14 years ago - nearly to the day - which Zidane scored the goal. 14 years on, Real Madrid will host Deportivo - albeit a dramatically different Deportivo side - this weekend with Zidane as manager.
What was so special about this goal goes beyond aesthetics. The sheer magnitude of the match and the atmosphere within the stadium was magical - it was a night that will never be forgotten. Deportivo came into the Bernabeu that night of January 5 2002 as a direct rival that would fight for the title. The Galician side were a machine at the time - led at the back by Donato and Manuel Pablo, orchestrated in the middle by Djalminha, Mauro Silva, and Valeron; and ultimately spearheaded by clinical strikers like Roy Makaay, Diego Tristan, and Walter Pandiani. They were part of an era which was widely known as the zenith of La Liga in this century - a day where Deportivo, Valencia, Real Madrid, and Barcelona fought to the death and were very competitive.
Ultimately, during the season of this memorable night, Real Madrid finished third in La Liga behind Deportivo and champions Valencia - but they did win the Champions League. It was Zinedine Zidane's first season at the Club where he also scored the winning goal against Bayer Leverkusen in Paris.
I'd like to note that that 2001-2002 season was my favorite one as a Madridista and is riddled with nostalgia. Everything from the players on the pitch to those glorious white shirts with no advertising - it was all beautiful.
Real Madrid's line-up that night against Deportivo:
And here it is, Zidane's goal, in all its glory.
Magic Johnson who was in attendance that night said the following on Zidane's performance.
"One of the most inspiring nights of my life. Zidane is a phenomenon."
Something to note here, Raul's goal in that match which put the game to bed was somewhat lost in all the mayhem of Zidane's goal, but in my opinion, it was just as good. I've embedded the full match for you below, and Raul's goal comes at 1:08:50.