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Liverpool Thought They Had Signed "The New Zinedine Zidane" Back In 2002

Liverpool Thought They Had Signed "The New Zinedine Zidane" Back In 2002

Liverpool signed French midfielder Bruno Cheyrou back in 2002 and then-manager Gerard Houllier dubbed him "the new Zinedine Zidane."

The 24-year-old joined Liverpool from French outfit Lille for £4 million and Houllier believed he'd found a gem.

Cheyrou was tall, athletic and had a shaved head - eerily similar to the Frenchman who had dazzled world football with Juventus and Real Madrid.

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"Bruno has got great skill, good vision and an eye for the pass," Houllier claimed.

Image Credit: PA
Image Credit: PA

"I don't make comparisons with Zidane lightly and I believe he can become an important player for Liverpool.

"He has the same kind of touch and style that Zidane has.

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"There's a lot of similarities between the two when they're on the ball."

For around 73 minutes, Liverpool fans were in dreamland and thought they had their very own 'Zizou.'

Cheyrou shone in a pre-season friendly against Lazio and he looked ready to take the Premier League by storm.

That was as good as it got however.

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Image Credit: PA
Image Credit: PA

He scored just one goal in 29 games for The Reds in his debut campaign and didn't look built for Premier League football.

Despite this, Houllier would persist with his project and compared him to Arsenal winger Robert Pires, who also took time to settle in England.

"For me, Bruno has all the assets to reach the level that separates a good player from a great player," he snapped.

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"Like other French players before him, he probably needs a little more time. Remember the first season at Arsenal? Everyone laughed at Robert Pires."

Cheyrou's second season didn't pan out much better.

He did manage to add more goals to his game and netted four, but only played 19 games.

Image Credit: PA
Image Credit: PA
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Image Credit: PA
Image Credit: PA

2004 rolled around and Rafa Benitez had taken over from Houllier as manager and it signaled the end of Cheyrou's career in England.

He was shipped out to Marseille and Bordeaux for season-long loans before being sold to Rennes in 2006.

Cheyrou discussed his time at Anfield years later and stated being compared to fellow countryman Zidane was unfair on him.

"I think it was a big mistake," the current Lyon Head of Recruitment told LFC.com per Goal.

"It's easier for me to talk about it now because it was some years ago, but comparing me with Zinedine Zidane was wrong. There is only one Zidane. All the fans were expecting me to go beating people and dominating the game like Zidane used to - and let's face it, I wasn't Zinedine Zidane!

"But then again, not many players could claim to be on his level. I think it was too heavy for me. It's not a good idea to liken new players to other ones because it puts too much pressure on their shoulders. It doesn't help the player."

Featured Image Credit: PA Images

Topics: Liverpool, Football News, Football, Premier League

Daniel Marland

Daniel is a freelance journalist for SPORTbible and covers a variety of sports. He also has past experience of working at Manchester United and once locked eyes with Jose Mourinho. He lived to tell the tale.

 

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