Chelsea vs Aston Villa: Kurt Zouma reveals he is named after Jean-Claude Van Damme...and why he has reason to smile all the time

The Chelsea defender is named after Van Damme's character in the film Kickboxer, although his full name is Kurt Happy Zouma

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There aren’t too many famous Kurt’s that jog the memory, but the likes of Kurt Cobain, Kurt Russell and Kurt Angle (be honest, you know who he is) are certainly well known names across the globe. So which one of them inspired Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma’s parents to christen their son with the name? well, none of them.

In fact, it was none other than Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme. Confused? You bet.

According to the 19-year-old himself, his parents enjoyed Van Damme’s film Kickboxer so much that they named Zouma after the character played by the Muscles from Brussels, ‘Kurt Sloane’.

Zouma said in an interview with “In the film, he helps everyone and is super strong. So my parents decided that if they gave me that name I'd be hard and always have a smile. Apparently it worked.”


The 1989 film featured Van Damme in the role of Kurt Sloane, who was attempting to learn the ancient kick boxing art of Muay Thai so he could seek revenge for his brother, who was paralysed by a rival during a fight.

Zouma celebrates scoring for Chelsea

The French teenager had reason to smile on Wednesday night as he scored the opening goal in the 2-1 victory over Bolton in the Capital One Cup third round, capping his first competitive appearance in a Chelsea shirt.

Van Damme played 'Kurt Sloane' in his 1989 movie 'Kickboxer'

But you’d be forgiven for thinking that Zouma is in good spirits all the time, given that his middle name is Happy. Kurt Happy Zouma.

It’s a common practice in Africa to use morally positives words for middles names, but if Zouma can continue among the goals then he won’t need an excuse to keep on smiling.