Monday, July 10, 2006

Zidane : The (anti) Climax

Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia, about Zinedine Zidane and his disgraceful exit from the World Cup Final 2006. It seems that Zidane was intentionally provoked as planned, with racist slurs about his origin.

Read on (keeping in mind that Wikipedia is freely editable….so these might just be rumors)

Zidane’s agent, Alain Migliaccio has claimed that a "very serious" comment by Materazzi provoked the attack. Reportedly, the deaf forensic lip-reader Jessica Rees was employed to analyze the video sequences with the help of an Italian translator. According to these reports, Materazzi spoke in Italian - a language understood by Zidane due to his time spent with Juventus F.C. - and first told him: "Hold on, wait, that one's not for a nigger like you." As the players walked forward, Materazzi allegedly said: "We all know you are the son of a terrorist whore." Then, just before the headbutt, he was seen saying: "So just fuck off." According to Brazilian TV Rede Globo, a lip-reader claimed that Materazzi twice called Zidane's sister a prostitute. Earlier claims about Materazzi having called his opponent a "dirty terrorist" have been denied by Materazzi, who reportedly said: "It is absolutely not true, I did not call him a terrorist. I'm ignorant. I don't even know what the word means."

As quoted in a timesonline report, the son of two Algerian immigrants, 34-year-old Zidane is proud of his North African roots, dedicating France’s 1998 World Cup win to “all Algerians who are proud of their flag and all those who have made sacrifices for their family but who have never abandoned their own culture”, so such a slur would certainly explain, if not justify, his violent response.

In the event that this is actually true, isn’t it repelling that the very spirit of sports that advocates unity, harmony and equality is openly being stabbed in full view of the world (an estimated over 6 billion people watched the final on Sunday), using the weapon of racism and hate? And that too, against the greatest soccer hero of his generation, the beloved Zizou?

There is a other side to the story too.The reasons for his unbridled anger might seem plausible enough at first, but Zidane's own dubious record of 14 sending-offs before, make his stand rather shaky. Was it a violent outcome of an unsolicited slur speech or was it his idiosyncrasy, his volatile temper, surfacing at the wrong time? But whatever be the reason, the fact remains that it was a disgrace. It is not that Zidane is any less of a legend now, but his image has been definitely tainted for reasons as maligned as the devil's desires.

Zidane, originally a street fighter from a Marseilles council block who plays football with god-like grace, was once described by one of his ardent fans; French rock singer, Jean-Louis Muratin in the words “Nobody knows if Zidane is an angel or demon. He smiles like Saint Teresa and grimaces like a serial killer.” But angel or demon - Zidane's strikingly impressive style could never go unnoticed even to the amateur enthusiast, (like me) who might be watching him for the first time. And especially in the match that began with his flawless penalty kick, I was hoping to see the brilliant artiste work at his ultimate masterpiece and finish it with aplomb. But it was not to be.

The final match, that too a World Cup final, a final chance to win the most coveted cup, once more for his beloved country and a final opportunity to justify the faith and the love of a billion fans worldwide; instead of being a fitting, grand finale of his glorious, enviable career, turned into his final downfall, and that too just before the final moments. The experience of watching the 3 time FIFA player of the year headbutt the Italian goalscorer, Marterazzi and be sent off the field under the red mist, whilst passing by the World cup, with all hopes of lifting it for the last time, dashed because of that one moment of retaliatory passion, was incomparable. There was a weird sinking feeling inside of me (and I am not even a football fan) as I wondered what it feels like to see everything in your life build up to this one moment, this one day and then see it all bite dust in a matter of seconds? And to know that you will never again have that one chance to do it....never again...

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