Ahead of Steven Gerrard’s final game in a Liverpool shirt, Zinedine Zidane has paid another glowing tribute to the former England captain. Speaking on ‘Gerrard: My Liverpool’, a documentary to be aired on LFCTV at 7.30pm on Saturday night , Zidane admitted Gerrard reminded him of himself.
Zidane earlier also revealed he wanted Real Madrid to pair him with Steven Gerrard, but it was not possible as Gerrard never wanted to leave Liverpool. Zidane felt Steven Gerrard was just like him on and off the pitch, and he thought a lot of him.
“He’s a player that I really thought a lot of, I had a lot of time for him and rated him. I can’t say that about everyone,” he told LFCTV’s ‘Gerrard: My Liverpool’.
“Why did I like him so much? Perhaps there was something about him that reminded me a little bit of myself.
“He made a lot of noise out there on the field but was quiet off it, meaning that he was someone down to earth and grounded away from the game who just said what needed to be said.
“He preferred to do his talking on the field, using his voice, his combative spirit and above all his ability on the ball that could make the difference in a game.”
Reflecting on Real’s failure to tempt Gerrard to Spain, Zidane added: “I would have really liked to have played alongside him. But he has always remained loyal to his own club, Liverpool, the club of his heart.
“That also is another characteristic that is particular to him, I don’t think there are too many players who have spent their entire career playing for just one club.
“That is a great strength of his too. It was never possible, because of course he stayed with Liverpool, but I would have loved to play with a guy like him.”
Earlier in 2009, Zidane hailed Steven Gerrard as the best footballer in the world ahead of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and described him as an ‘engine room’.
“Is he the best in the world? He might not get the attention of [Lionel] Messi and Ronaldo but, yes, I think he just might be,” Zidane said. “If you don’t have a player like Steven Gerrard, who is the engine room, it can affect the whole team.
“When we were winning league titles and European Cups at Real, I always said Claude Makelele was our most important player. There is no way myself, [Luis] Figo or Raúl would have been able to do what we did without Claude and the same goes for Liverpool and Gerrard.
“He has great passing ability, can tackle and scores goals, but most importantly he gives the players around him confidence and belief. You can’t learn that – players like him are just born with that presence.”