Sad finish for Zidane


"I'm sorry for Zidane, because I hold him in great esteem, and he knows that," said Italy coach Marcello Lippi - who bossed Zidane at Juventus - in his post-match press conference, echoing the thoughts of everyone present.

"He's a great player and I don't want to see him go. I told him before the start of the game to think over his decision to retire. It's a shame to end his career in this way."

The 69,000 in the Olympic Stadium and the millions around the world who watched the game will have the sight of Zidane's balding head hammering into Materazzi's chest indelibly etched into their archive of the Frenchman's defining moments.

But Lippi - a man who spent three seasons alongside Les Bleus' number 10 in Turin - should know better than most there is a beast which occasionally rears its hideous head and transforms the habitually placid and retiring Zidane.

HEADBUTTED

Saudi Arabia captain Fuad Amin was the first to feel the wrath of 'Zizou,' a two-game ban for the Frenchman for stamping on his opponent neatly overshadowed by his two goals in the final against Brazil to claim a maiden World Cup in 1998.

And in 2001, Zidane headbutted Hamburg's Jochen Kientz just 29 minutes into a Champions League encounter - a headbutt that was seen all too brutally clearly in the German capital.

There is no doubt Marco Materazzi was goading Zidane, and the words - which neither Lippi nor French counterpart Raymond Domenech were able to disclose - were certainly not for the faint-hearted.

But like it or not, verbally insulting your opponent is a major factor in modern-day football and is something Zidane must have come across countless times on pitches around Europe.

His dismissal virtually ended France's chances of unlocking the Azzurri rearguard given the fundamental role Zidane plays in the 4-2-3-1 formation adopted by Domenech.

NOT A PANENKA, A ZIDANE

But up until his premature departure, France's best moments had rarely come through their star playmaker - aside from his magnificent, outrageously daring penalty.

The debate will rage over whether referee Horacio Elizondo was right to award the spot-kick, but we can be thankful he did to offer the viewing public the privilege of watching an artist at work.

The 'Panenka' should be renamed the 'Zidane' as having the audacity to do that in the World Cup final (the original was 'only' in the Euro 76 final) deserves long-standing recognition.

But otherwise, in an Italy-dominated first period, the ball was often in wide positions which severely limits Zidane's usefulness - at 34, it is not for his industry that he is going to make a difference.

HENRY THE HEIR

And in the second half of normal time he saw himself upstaged by Thierry Henry, the man who is now expected to take on the mantle of national saviour following Zidane's retirement.

There were still some mouth-watering touches though from the great man, particularly in dodging away from that most persistent of opponents, Gennaro Gattuso.

The pick of the bunch, coming on 104 minutes, was a soft-shoe shuffle which kept the ball out of Gattuso's reach before it was spread wide for Willy Sagnol to cross for Zidane himself to head powerfully goalwards and force Gigi Buffon into a flying stop.

It was a moment of sheer magic, the sort of genius everyone marvelled at after 'that' volley in the 2003 Champions League final, almost as decisive as when he headed those two goals into the Brazil net in Paris eight years ago.

A moment of magic to help ease the painful memory of a moment of madness.


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  30 Comments   Comment

  1. Zinedine from Morocco

    Salaamu alaikum,

    Part 1

    Do you think you need to tell me that. I learned it first hand the first week I arrived to Canada in 1990 as a student & spent seven years studying full time and working part time. My seven years were full of struggles from 1990 to 1997. And when I graduated from university with a bilingual degree & started to work as a programmer the struggle was not over. It took me another three years to pay all my debts and three more years to save enough money to buy a house with a big down payment. Struggle is part of life "laquad khalaqna l'insana fi kabad" Holy Quran. That's normal. No matter what your background is you need to work hard to progress: The English, the Scottish, the Irish, The French & the Italians all worked hard and the Jews all had to work very hard to get to where they are today but it paid off; African American worked harder built America but were not given the chance to prosper thanks to slavery & racism. In Canada, it is much easier for a Black person or a Muslim or an Arab like myself to climb the latter with certain limitations of course than in the US. It's a lot harder in Europe.... I don't know about Australia & New Zealand but I can safely say that these two countries are institutionally racist by looking at the status of their indigenous peoples. The facts are they are brutally marginalised and live in the ghettos & you can't deny that ..thanks to John Howard's gov ongoing racist policies.You said: "That being said. I believe 100% that the least racist places in the World are Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Yes I have visited the world and I know it to be true!" I think you are dreaming. These countries are the land of exploitation not opportunity. As far as historians are concerned racism, prejudice and stereotypes are the norm beginning with Ancient Greece and hopefully ending in the USA. They are part of western govs internal & external policies. No denial that most of the nation-states of

  2. Ali from USA

    Doin Phine, please allow me to correct yet another one of your misconceptions in your post no. 38889 and, in particular, your quote: "Look at the ME, everybody hates Jews, not because of race but because of religion."

    We don't hate Jews because of their religion. We have a common Patriarch. What we hate is Zionism which is unjust. Europeans hated Jews because of their religion.

    Please don't equate our hate for Zionism as hate for Jews. Jews lived in peace with us in the Middle East until 1948. You may find exceptions here and there but not as blatant as the anti-semitism was in Europe from the early ages till the Holocaust.

  3. Doiin Phine

    Thanks for the reply Zinedine, your reply goes against what I learned about the Koran that it is a perfect document, that everybody can understand. Maybe the problem for you is that I do in deed understand this holy book.

    About Caucasians having the best jobs, I'm sure that will change when educational levels increase for Muslims, meaning when they receive a true and proper education in their own countries, and are not just brainwashed.

    Zinedine I guess you don't realise that when people immigrate (meaning the average people not the rich) that they have to start at the bottom and through hard work, and increased levels of education improve their position in life. My ancestors when they moved to NA centuries ago, they had a very difficult life and worked hard to get where we are today. I agree it is hard for immigrants, but not as hard as for my ancestors. As far as racism in the West, yes there is. The world over there is racism, hopefully someday it will be eradicated. Look at the ME, everybody hates Jews, not because of race but because of religion.

    That being said. I believe 100% that the least racist places in the World are Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Yes I have visited the world and I know it to be true!

    Patterns of migration, prove my point beyond any possible disagreement! These countries are the land of opportunity, not oppression. Hard for you to accept but it is a fact! Of course if people move to these countries and don't want to integrate, or hold prejudice against the countries they move to, then it a no win situation for the immigrant and for the accepting country!

  4. Zinedine from Morocco

    Salaamu alaikum,

    Here comes Doing Bad again,

    I am talking about institutional racism not just isolated case. The majority of the best jobs in the Arabian Gulf, KSA included are taken by Caucasians, few good positions in the Western World are held by Muslims. The majority of trivial jobs if not the worst positions in Europe are filled by immigrants mostly Blacks and Muslims. It took the West 300 years to democratise & over 1700 years to accept a Slavic Pope. May another 100 years to accept a black Pope? Institutional racism is rooted in your bone marrow!!!

    And btw: Zinedine is my name love it or hate. At least, I have a name you don't!!!

  5. Doin Phine

    Well you who calls yourself Zinedine, you found what you were looking for. No surprise, racist are all over the world including the Middle East! However when I went with my wife an ex-muslim who isn't white, we had no problems through out Europe in our visits in the past.

    Least in the educational systems hate of the other, is not taught in the educational system like it is in the Middle East. Two examples Saudi textbooks, and Iranian educational TV.

  6. Zinedine from Morocco

    Salamu alaikum Hinde:

    Je pense que tu ne connais ce verset coranique: "Fawqua kulli ilmin aleem" Le Saint Koran. Allah peut creer des joueurs plus superieurs que Zidane parce que son pouvoir n'a pas de limite!

  7. Aslam from India

    Earlier this website had posted a much different article related to Zidane. I had then opposed associating of Zidane with his religion. Then, to me Zidane was just another footballer.

    However, I now declare my great admiration for Zidane as a man who loved his family more than he loved the World Cup and who had the courage to sacrifice his reverent stature for his family.

  8. Zinedine from Morocco

    Part1:Salaamu alaikum, I just came back from London England & Frankfurt, Germany. I spent five days in London and nine days in Germany. I visited few big cities and watched the world cup games on big screen TV's in downtown Cologne and other cities. I wanted to see how racist the Europeans are because all what I knew about them was either written in books or heard of from people that lived in Europe. I 've never lived in Europe and never spent a night there except for once in may summer 2005 & of course two weeks in June 2006. Because I am friendly by nature & because I look Spanish, Caucasians mistake me for a Spaniard or an Italian, they open up to me about their feelings towards immigrants. In Germany, the enemy is the Turk and in England the enemy is the south-East Asian. In France & Belgium, the enemy is the Arab & the African. There are many sources where you can information on the impact of the white supremacists on European societies & its politicians but I am only going to talk to those comments made by football I heard in England and Germany during the two weeks I spent there. In England I heard: " Do dirty really know how to play football" before the Trinidad & Tobago vs England match.

    In Germany: Translated to me as "Lazy & Greasy Italians vs the German machine". An Italian made this comment: It's the monkeys vs the Azzuri in reference to the Ghana vs Italy match.

    When I asked an English fan this question: Do you think it's fair that Africa & Asia are under-represented in Fifa world cups? I mean they only allow 5 teams from Africa & only 3 teams from Asia but to increase European nations chances to win the cup they let 14 teams come from Europe? -Well, our teams are superior to others. He replied & I throw this statement back at him. If that's the case, then why Algeria defeated Germany 2-1 in WC 82 & why Morocco tied England 0-0 defeated Portugal 3-1 were on top of their group in 86 & beat Scotland 3-0 in 98? He was silenced & left the scene.

  9. Zinedine from Morocco

    Re: FYI

    Salaamu alaikum,

    Did you know that Marco Materazzi was suspended for two months for punching Sienna defender Bruno Cirillo after a Serie A match in February 2004? He is therefore no stranger to controversy & trouble & Zidane fell in his trap!

  10. Zinedine from Morocco

    Continues:

    I am sure Zidane must 've faced different types of racist acts against him at the start of his career. Never mind Europe, Zidane is Kabilee, his own Algerian football federation, treated him with disrespect by calling him to fly from Marseille France to Algiers, Algeria as he was selected to be part of Algeria's national squad. He was waiting for hours "stranded" in Algiers airport to find out later on that the Algerian football federation is no longer interested in his services & that they picket another midfielder who resides in Algeria. He flew back to France & must 've sworn to never play for Algeria. We Muslims & Africans usually don't even treat our own with dignity & we expect a continent heavily influenced by white power to treat us & our players with respect. It just does not make sense? Bad temper is definitely part of Zidane's persona & although he is a football genius he is not a role model. He could 've been for our kids but his typical Algerian abrupt & nasty temper prevents him from being one. May Allah forgive him

  11. Zinedine from Morocco

    Continues: Racism is a more serious problem in Europe than anywhere else. The greatest strikers of the year 2005 & 2006 in both Africa & Spanish Laligua Samuel Etoo & England, Chelsea's top goal scorer Didier Drogba hear the word "monkey monkey" every time the touch the ball to the point that Etoo refused to continue playing the game. His team-mates feel really bad for him but they are hopeless and can't control the crowds. It makes matters worst when Spain's head coach is one of Europe's most racist bigots who actually told Torres (one of the Spain's strikers): "You can do better than that black piece of shit" He was insulting Samuel Etoo. Aragones still kept his job because unfortunately, Fifa does not take racism very seriously. Take Paulo Dicanio, for instance, this player gives the Nazi salute, to his fascist Italian fans whenever he scores and Fifa is oblivious to it. Pls note that Breitner was so depressed when Algeria stunned Germany 2-1 because he earlier told the media: " May be I should be wearing a long robe (jelbab) to play against these camel riders" it turns out that these Arabs & or Berbers taught him a life lesson & football lessons that he must 've never forgotten. Cameroon also stunned Argentina in 1990 beating them with only 9 players one of them was their 38 year old star Roger Milla who scored two goals against Colombia 2-1. Senegal also stunned France in WC 2002 winning 1-0 in a game where superstar Zidane played. Ghana also defeated the US 2-0 & was terribly cheated by corrupt referees especially against Brazil.

  12. jo from US

    This Zidane incindent must be recognized very serius case in regards racisme in sport history! If this is the case and Zidane is the only one who knows to explain it why he did it that way Then we all learned that racisme is very bad in every side.

  13. Salman from USA

    response to NORTHERNCROSS:

    It's obvious, buddy, you have NO clue about soccer and don't know jack about Zidane. If you knew anything about RACSIM (I assume you are white and don't even know what that word means) you would understand Zidane's action. My only regret is that Zidane aimed too low!

  14. Samy from USA

    Imagine Michael Jordan playing his last game at an NBA final playoff and a WHITE opponent tells him: Go f**k your mother, n*gger!" Everyone would have been VERY understanding if Michael Jordan would have butted the white guy. Let's face it, Europe is stilll RACIST. The monkey chants directed at black players during Europe's soccer matches are just a sample of the virulent racism inherent in European stadiums.

    In the end, Zidane is a PROUD man, and he had to choose between his "dignity" or a trivial golden statue. He chose the former!

  15. Nazira from USA

    We should be a little more emphathetic for Zidane. Yes words are often exchanged on the field, but as many retiree's of the game have said, personal attacks are never involved. Materazzi is equally guilty for continuously pushing Zidane's buttons. The incident should have been further investigated and considering the circumstances of the referees, a red card should not have been pulled.

  16. Hudd from Canada

    Yeah, it shocked me, I would say, but if I was to choose between Doin Phine's sensible comment and the lethargic piece of delirium from the NorthernStar, of course I'll go with Doin Phine. Sometimes you make me believe that you still have pockets of intelligence left in your very biased Judeo-Christian state of mind.

  17. Zinedine from Morocco

    Page1

    Salaamu alaikum, I just came back from London England & Frankfurt, Germany. I spent five days in London and nine days in Germany. I visited few big cities and watched the world cup games on big screen TV's in downtown Cologne and other cities. I wanted to see how racist the Europeans are because all what I knew about them was either written in books or heard of from people that lived in Europe. I 've never lived in Europe and never spent a night there except for once in may summer 2005 & of course two weeks in June 2006. Because I am friendly by nature & because I look Spanish, Caucasians mistake me for a Spaniard or an Italian, they open up to me about their feelings towards immigrants. In Germany, the enemy is the Turk and in England the enemy is the south-East Asian. In France & Belgium, the enemy is the Arab & the African. There are many sources where you can information on the impact of the white supremacists on European societies & its politicians but I am only going to talk to those comments made by football I heard in England and Germany during the two weeks I spent there. In England I heard: " Do dirty really know how to play football" before the Trinidad & Tobago vs England match. In Germany: Translated to me as "Lazy & Greasy Italians vs the German machine". An Italian made this comment: It's the monkeys vs the Azzuri in reference to the Ghana vs Italy match.

    When I asked an English fan this question: Do you think it's fair that Africa & Asia are under-represented in Fifa world cups? I mean they only allow 5 teams from Africa & only 3 teams from Asia but to increase European nations chances to win the cup they let 14 teams come from Europe? -Well, our teams are superior to others. He replied & I throw this statement back at him. If that's the case, then why Algeria defeated Germany 2-1 in WC 82 & why Morocco tied England 0-0 defeated Portugal 3-1 were on top of their group in 86 & beat Scotland 3-0 in 98? He was silenced & left the scene.

  18. hinde from usa

    ZINEDINE ZIDANE,c'est le meilleur joueur au monde,et il le restera pour toujour.l'equipe etalienne a eu la coup du monde,ca veux pas dir qu'ils ont bien jouee,par-ce-que la coup du monde,n'est pas par les pinaltes.........vive ZIDANE,le champion du monde.

  19. Southerncross (a.k.a. H.A.) from Yathrib

    Hey Northerncross!

    Here is Southerncross.

    Why you all Americans are suffering from "Bush Syndrome"? Why you all talk, walk, speak, and comment stupidly like Bush?

    It is NOT only Muslim kids who like Zidane, It's MOSTLY French and Europeans (non-Muslims) who like Zidane. I, H.A (aka Southerncross),a fundamentlist/extremist/you name it Muslim, rooted for Italy and not Zidane.

    You know nothing about the situation. Just spitting out comment like your .. president and .. Ameican public. Grow up!

    Stop displaying all the .. symptoms of your twicely appointed president.

  20. boujouj from canada

    May Allah bless your hart Zidane. As we say in Algeria:

    ZIDAH YA ZIDANE.

    Algerians are proud people, and you do not mess with them.

  21. Stu from Australia

    I feel sorry for Zidane, and of course in football there can be verbal abuse to other players, and even by the crowd. I do believe that players that verbally abuse other players in the field should also get the yellow or red card.

    I wish Zidine the best in his retirement from playing professional football.

  22. aida from canada

    I've always thought Zidane was an awesome player

    but I am disappointed in the way he chose to end

    his soccer career. I feel he let his team down when he decided to go for the attack. Staying cool and playing clean is how to play.

  23. javid from USA

    Real men have passion and conviction. Honor before a "game".

  24. schwester from cental asia

    yea, on one hand it's so sad. who knows how i would behave if i heard the same he did in such a stress. but on another hand, on right hand, i think as he had done such things also before, now he had to know that it's not that right way to play best..if he decided to win and wanted it really. every player knows that this is that trick to down the opponents

  25. WITHELD from UK

    not a sad finish for one of fooballs greats...but a man of principles who was defending his rights...to walk away isn`t always the right thing to do.. stand up and face your enemies ... Matterazi a reknowned thug and racist is SAD...NOT ZIDANE..

  26. Yusuf HASSAN from NIGERIA

    I always pass judgement by looking at the two sides of the coin. Heros have never been allowed to have there day. Take the case of racial slander on Eto'o of Cameroon with Bacellona fc. BEASTY ATTITUDES or whatever it may be called, is FORCED on such heros, and to me they are being more NATURAL by responding ACCORDINGLY. At least, he contained it before being provoked. The worst character to me is ONE WHO USES MISCHIEF, OF WHATEVER FORM, TO EVEN HIS SHORTCOMINGS.Silly statements on heros are yet to be fully penalized on the offenders. ZIDANE REMAINS ICONIC in football history! Please remind me of a fooball legend that gave a penalty marvel in the finals of world cup. It was outright football prowress, mesmerizing or was it exposing the amaturedness of Buffon's psycology to pre-empt a penalty kick. His former coach at Juventus(Lippi), was perfectly right, when he referred to ZIZOU as the best footballer in the past 20years! Fifa awarded him the golden ball of the turnament despite his 'grevious' offence. Isn't this an an irony!

  27. Firdeuse from kosova

    eselamu alejkum

    i'm realy sorry about Zidan it really not a good end.But this can hapen to everyone and this is not a act that destroys all of this good acts and sucsses.

  28. Ameen from USA

    Sadly, I see so many of our young Muslim youths so much in awe of Zidane.

    Zidane to me, nothing more than a football player. It does not matter whether he is Muslim or not.

    We have a far better example for our youth in the Noble Prophet. Now that is someone you can be in awe of.

  29. NorthernCross from USA

    As an American, I don't really watch this sport much since it's not big in this country. So this is the first time I saw Zidane in action. I'm not sure why so many Muslims or others are so proud of this guy, since he seems to be one of the dirtiest cheap shot artists I've ever watched since Karl Malone. Completely uncalled for, Zidan'e headbutt proved to me that he's a guy who lacks any concept of sportsmanship.

  30. Doin Phine

    After the head butt, I didn't care if France won or lost, something bigger and worst had happenned. My new favorite soccer player let me down. Most of all, he let his teammates down. In sports 'goading' has always been part of the game, you have to use it to movitivate you, unfortunately for Zidane, he let it destroy him and his teams chances. A very selfish act on his part, in front of a billion people. None the less, I hope soccer fans may someday forgive him, as he is only human, and he had much pressure on him in the final.