What makes a madridista?

The same is true for madridismo as is for religion. Some people are born Christian, Jewish or Muslim, while others convert to one of these monotheistic beliefs later on in life. When Barcelona fans try to poke holes in Zidane’s status as a Madrid icon, they recurrently bring up how close the Frenchman was to signing for Cruyff’s Barca side until the Dutch coach’s sacking led to him opting for a move to Italy. So what? Do you need to have followed Real Madrid from birth to be considered a madridista? Of course not. Just as the case is for religion, converts to the church of Chamartín can quite often be the staunchest defenders of the club.

The manner in which Zizou responded to the question put forward to him ahead of yesterday’s match on the subject of whether any his contracts -- as either a player or manager -- ever contained an “anti-Barca clause” was telling. “I’m a madridista. Full stop”, the World Cup winner retorted with a smile. Zidane was born in Marseille and supported Olympique as a boy. He learned his trade at Cannes and also played for Bordeaux before making a name for himself on the world stage with Juventus. But Real Madrid was the team that stole his heart and it was with Los Blancos that he enjoyed his greatest moments at club level. He remained in the Spanish capital to make his dream of becoming the first team coach a reality. And, it’s also worth noting that he turned down an offer of 12 million euros in 2006. Something that many who would consider themselves Real Madrid supporters through and through wouldn’t have done.