“To Win the Champions League?”: Soccer Star Zinedine Zidane Fulfils the “French Team” Dream at Alpine as Fans Predict Grim Future for Pierre Gasly & Esteban Ocon

Published 02/17/2023, 7:45 AM EST

As of 16th February 2023, we have a full pack for the upcoming season. Last but not the least, Alpine unveiled their 2023 challenger as well and completed the grid for the 2023 cars. There was plenty to talk about in all the car launches so far, but Alpine took the prize. Not because of their 2023 challenger, but a shock announcement that came with it. The announcement, however, made fans wonder about the future of the Alpine pilots Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly.

Toward the end of the 2022 season, Alpine had to put out internal fires between Ocon and former teammate Fernando Alonso. The two drivers did not end their two-year relationship on the best of terms. However, Alpine made a worrying announcement of Gasly as their replacement for Fernando Alonso. Gasly and Esteban Ocon share a tumultuous history that most fans believe would become an issue in 2023.


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However, the team and both drivers are taking active steps to rewrite that narrative with multiple acts of affection. Although despite their best efforts, the fans are foreseeing a tiff between the two. At the launch of Alpine’s A523, the French team announced France’s soccer legend Zinedine Zidane as their brand ambassador. However, all fans could recall was Zidane’s troubling history.

USA Today via Reuters

Zidane in the 2006 FIFA World Cup led the team to the finals but was unable to finish the game because of his own doing. The France captain head-butted Italy’s Marco Materazzi and was instantly sent off with a red card.


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This is exactly what fans are foreseeing for the two Alpine Frenchmen.

Fans are making one prediction for Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon after Zinedine Zidane’s announcement

Zidane’s announcement was made on various social media platforms including Instagram and Twitter. Most fans pointed out two major things. Alpine is a complete French squad now, with two French drivers and a French ambassador. If only Otmar Szafnauer was also French.

The other aspect the fans pointed out was Zidane’s controversial headbutt. Let’s first look at a few comments on Instagram.

“french team 100%”

“Alpine aiming to win the Champions League? 😂”

“As french as it gets”

“gonna teach em how to go headfirst into some italians”

“Alpine becoming a football team now”

“Anticipating the Ocon -Gasly drama by getting Zizou in”

One fan also joked about Alpine’s willingness to win the Champions League, the premier soccer tournament, with Zidane’s success as a player and a manager in the competition. However, most fans made a correlation between the French World Cup winner’s headbutt and tensions between Gasly and Ocon, even on Twitter.

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The fans on Twitter want to dig up the old rivalry by suggesting Ferrari make Marco Materazzi their ambassador. Although the majority of suggestions pointed towards the headbutt between the teammates, including some “headstrong” puns.

It will be interesting to see if these predictions turn out to be true through the course of the upcoming season.



Mahim Suhalka

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Mahim Suhalka is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. This Sports Management post-graduate is an ardent supporter of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team and their lead driver, Lewis Hamilton. The fact that Lewis dominated one of the most expensive sports in the world for all these years, despite his humble beginnings, has been a huge inspiration for Mahim and has made him a tenured fan of the competitive sport itself.

Edited By: Varunkumaar Chelladurai