Zinedine Zidane sees elements of himself in Steven Gerrard as the former England midfielder prepares to call time on his Liverpool career.
Gerrard will wave farewell to the Premier League in Sunday’s swansong at Stoke City, bringing to an end a remarkable 17 years in the first team at his boyhood club.
And he has clearly won some high-profile admirers along the way, with World Cup winner Zidane speaking of his admiration for the 34-year-old.
“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.”
The Frenchman wanted to have Gerrard, who will continue his career with the LA Galaxy, as a team-mate when a move to Real Madrid appeared to be on the cards, but they only ever shared a pitch as adversaries.
“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,” Zidane added.
“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.”
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