Instantly, his skill bewitches; the chest control, positional sense and drives from deep all suggest a talent to make mockery of his 15 years.
But one move above the rest gives him away: a lazy 360-degree dribble once known as the ‘Marseille turn’, where he contrives to drag his foot back, spin his body and finally beat his opponent in a single liquid motion.
At Valdebebas, Real Madrid’s gleaming training sanctuary out by the city’s airport, it is referred to simply as the roulette and it stands in Los Merengues folklore as the exclusive preserve of Zinedine Zidane.
The effortlessness of its execution by a teenager might be explained by the fact that young Enzo happens to be Zidane’s eldest son, a player not merely in the great one’s image but of his blood.
On this occasion, junior is branded as Fernández – maiden name of Spanish mother Veronique – as part of his father’s attempts to control the maelstrom of publicity about to engulf him.
To a generation of fans who grew up replaying that volley to win Real’s ninth European Cup in 2002, or those two headers for France in the 1998 World Cup final, there will only ever be one Zidane. Already, though, the profile of his progeny is elevated to pop-star levels.
Enzo’s exploits have gained him his own unofficial website, while a montage of his most outrageous pieces of invention to date, in a youth tournament against Barcelona three years ago, has attracted almost five million views on YouTube.
How could a 12 year-old display such consummate control? How dare the little tyro score from a direct free kick?
Touted across Spain as el heredero (the heir), Enzo was apparently born to emulate the game’s established nobility, having been named after Zinedine’s hero, the former Uruguay star Enzo Francescoli.
The problem is that, like many coveted properties from the Real hothouse, he faces multiple claims upon his loyalties. Specifically, he is burdened by the vexed issue of whether, as a boy of mixed ancestry, he winds up competing for France or Spain.
The hopes invested in him by both countries are such that the imminent resolution could yet have a profound bearing upon his future career.
Although born in Bordeaux, Enzo has spent his last nine years in Madrid and can trace his maternal grandparents to the town of El Chive, in Almería.
The debate appears all but settled in the eyes of the Spanish federation, whose under-16s coach, Santi Denia, has watched Zidane Jnr perform in Real colours several times, with the intention of inviting the youngster to practice sessions.
But sometimes even a passport cannot define one’s ties. On this front, Zidane is perhaps best placed to dispense advice, having played the pawn in a similar diplomatic stand-off between France and Algeria over whose flag he should carry.
Algeria, as the land of his birth, (whut??)loudly asserted that he was theirs when the choice came in 1994, despite a rumour that then coach Abdelhamid Kermali deemed him not fast enough.
There was a technicality, however, which no amount of Algerian bluster could challenge: Zidane had by this time made his debut for France. For Enzo, still perhaps three years off a senior call-up, the decision is nothing like so clear.
Alas, Chapter VII Article 18 of the Fifa statutes reads unhelpfully for his purposes, decreeing that a player of dual nationality can switch associations at any time provided he has not received his first full international cap.
France’s mediators still hope to use this phrasing to ensnare Enzo, even if they promise to do so tactfully. Unless he helps win a World Cup for them, they will not go as far overboard as they did with his father, projecting his image on to the Arc de Triomphe.
But a documentary on the relationship, entitled “Dans les pas de papa” (In the footsteps of dad) has been screened on state television, including a split-screen demonstration of father-and-son roulettes, as if they were identical tricks.
François Blaquart, coach of the France Under-17s, is being gentle, while admitting that a sensitivity resides in the very name Zidane: “The most important thing is that he wants to play for France. This is a hyper-mediated event. If it were the surname Dupont, we would not be commenting at all.”
As it is, Zidane finds himself both the iconic figure for French footballers, if his Berlin butt on Marco Materazzi is excused, and the emblematically elegant madrileño for his storied record at Real.
His success in spawning another player potentially as gifted just seems, in each of his adopted lands, too good to be true. Still, he is plainly finding the minute scrutiny of his son stressful.
“I’d rather not talk about it,” he said when pressed. “He’s enjoying his football in Madrid and that’s what matters.”
Under the direction of Florentino Pérez, the Real president and Zidane’s close friend, a media exclusion zone has been thrown around Enzo to ensure he is unsettled no further.
How Zidane must pine for more innocent days, when all he had to worry about was a family kickabout in the garden. But if his genetic good fortune is any guide, he had better start embracing the notion of a dynasty.
Rapidly it is emerging that the famed Zidane technique is not confined to Enzo alone. Theo, his younger brother, is only 12 but a recent addition to Real’s children’s ‘B’ squad, as a goalkeeper.
The development of Theo, who at the age of five joined local club Canillas — also the destination of Ronaldo’s son, when the Brazilian represented Real – is still more freakish.
Zidane has argued that Jose Mourinho, the manager matching him for charisma at the Bernabeu, is the best appointment Real could have made.
The love-in is soon likely to be mutual, if he can cement his legacy, indeed his legend, by bequeathing to the new man a host of baby Zizous.
Following in father’s footsteps
Brian and Nigel Clough: Both played for England. Brian a legendary success as a manager. Nigel now manages Derby County.
Johan and Jordi Cruyff: Johan was simply one of the greatest players. Jordi was not, but played for Barcelona and Manchester United.
Cesare and Paolo Maldini: Cesare played in two World Cups and won one as a manager – Paolo was captain. Also including Christian for his fierce hair...though I believe that pic is a few years old...
Oh and apparently, Cesare won a WC as assistant manager...
Frank and Frank Lampard: Both England players, though Senior was picked only twice.
Harry and Jamie Redknapp: Harry is the leading English manager at the moment, Jamie’s England career was cut short by injury.
Help a sister out, if you notice anything, let me know!
15 days ago the front page of the newspaper AS started everything. The press all over the world are getting excited about a player, and not just any player obviously. Enzo Zidane, elder son of Zinedine, player at Real Madrid. Will Enzo follow in the footsteps of his father?
His Father's Son
Having a world famous father isn't simple. So, when, like him (Enzo) you decide to follow the same path, it becomes even more complicated. Enzo Zidane, son of Zinedine, French footballing icon, is now 15 years old, a high schooler in Madrid, but especially player at Real Madrid's youth team. And on the pitch, Enzo is easily noticed.
Angel: "Enzo is my son's teammate at Real, and I can tell you he's a good kid and sometimes I think I'm watching his father play, it's incredible."
But to be named Zidane is a heavy legacy to carry.
Arsene: "It's difficult to cope with because you're compared to the father you normally want to surpass. You're a son; you always want to do better than your father."
But apparently, the teenager is perfectly able to cope.
Vincente: "He's a normal kid, not very talkative, very kind."
Yoann: "Enzo is a great buddy, very modest. He's really super."
A teen at ease with himself who used to make his teammates shy at first.
Yoann: "The first time I met him, I was a bit scared to go talk to him, I didn't know what to do, and actually, he's a great guy. It's cool, sometimes we see his dad coming to pick him up from training. I even have a picture with him. It's really cool to see him for real."
Zidane - a name that attracts the media each week.
Vincente: "At each tournament (game, I'm assuming?), there are photographers. I think it must be hard for the kid. They need to leave him alone."
Photog: "I'm taking pics of Enzo, our readers are expecting them. He's Zidane's son, so we want to know if this'll work out for him."
If the media talk so much about Zidane, it's obviously for filiation reasons, but especially because at the age of 15 he's predicted to play for the national team.
So the question everyone is asking: Will Enzo Zidane play for Spain or for France?
French or Spanish?
Friendly, a good teammate/comrade, but what is he worth on the pitch?
Jose: In terms of football, it's undeniable that he has something of his father. It would by lying to deny it. But it's too early to say whether one day Enzo will be able to become a professional player.
Is talented up-and-coming player, Enzo Zidane, from Madrid, piquing the interest of France's under-16 team selector?
Patrick: I don't think you should focus on the fact that he's Zidane's son. There are a lot of talented players in France at this age. There's no hurry - leave it to time and if he does well at his club, we'll stay tuned to that and we'll do what is necessary.
Apparently, for the time being, he will not be part of the under-16 French national team, but what about the Spanish NT, since he has dual nationality thanks to his Spanish mother and grandparents. Who better than Gines Melendez, one of the founders of the new Spanish formation, to answer this question.
So, will Enzo Zidane be called up for the Spanish NT?
Gines: "Well…yes, we'll pick him. We intend to talk to his father and to summon him for the month of October."
Enzo will therefore be called up next month for the U-16 Spain NT. So what will Papa Zidane (can't translate that!) do? He will ask his son whether he will accept Spain's call-up. He'll have until age 21 to chose once and for all whether he wants to play for Spain or France.
Sources: Telegraph & Telefoot/YouTube.