What was Zizou thinking?
[If the animation on the left is threatening to send you into a Zidane-state with its repetitiveness, just press “escape” on your keyboard]
That on World Cup night, with the eyes of a billion on him, he could get away with an off-the-ball headbutt? [At the very least, Figo’s headbutt was way more subtle]
Was he high on Getafix’s magic potion that he thought that as a Gaul he would lay low a Roman with a lethal blow?
Did his years at the top of the soccer world not teach him to not take banter from opponents, no matter how abusive, “personally” ?
[My guess is that it was something about his baldness—- a touchy topic among people who lose all hair before 35. Just like the issue of his weight is for some people like Inzamam]
France has the initiative. Viera and Henry–two of the senior performers have been substituted out due to injury and exhaustion and the team needs Zidane’s guidance the most. Despite the knock to his shoulder, Zizou himself is in sublime form—sending a screaming header almost to the goal a moment ago. A penalty shoot-out is going to start in a few minutes and he just happens to be one of the best penalty-kick takers in the world.
Lest we forget, there is the small matter of these being his last few moments on a soccer pitch.
And so at a time when he needs to “keep his head about him” , inspire his team to a victory and at the very least, ride into the sunset with grace and dignity befitting a great champion, Zidane gets down from the horse and pisses into the sun.
What a moment of petulant self-destruction—the decimation of a dream, a not-to-be-easily-forgotten blot on the legacy of a legend.
And a reminder to all of us of how a single moment of rage can ruin everything that can take an entire lifetime to build.
Animated GIF of the headbutt courtesy Wikipedia