Giving Head

85 Comments

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

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85 thoughts on “Giving Head

  1. Have there been any stories about what caused that exchange?
    This is similar to the time when mark boucher dropped steve waugh and the world cup in ’99.
    Except this wasn’t an error, this was an unfortunate meltdown that will probably be the defining moment of his otherwise illustrious legacy.

  2. I guess he was too frustrated… party due to the high humidity (Zidane was playing well in all the night matches, when the twmperature was much cooler).

  3. And if Materazzi provoked him to do it, then full marks to him for sledging. In fact it was Zidan who dragged on the conversation and then turned around and headed him in the chest. Very un-Zizou like. Italy had a definite advantage in penalties from then on. Even the veteran can behave like a newbie sometimes…ironically this was his last time.

  4. Perhaps his coach said: “Zidane, Use your head!”, So he did. Bah.
    Seriously though, it could have been a response to a racial slur- Zizou is of Algerian Origin, and a nasty comment on his background may have triggered this.
    Or perhaps Materrazzi said something about Zizou’s son- who, apparently, has some degenerative disease. Read this somewhere.
    But you’re right. There was no need to respond physically, especially when its almost your curtain call. This is not how he would want to be remembered.

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  6. @Choyon: Yes it was. And yes I read about that yagna….now I wonder how foolish do these sycophants have to be? Here is BJP raking up the issue of Sonia Gandhi’s foreign origins, and the Gandhi camp trying to prove that her heart beats for India and India only. And in that backdrop, these people do yagna for Italy in order to please Madam !

    @Amit: But today was night also right?

    @Yourfan2: Sledging: an unfortunate concomitant of today’s sport. I understand that the Italian guy may have made a racial slur or about his family—and it is tough to not take it personally. But even then, Zidane at 34 and an elder statesman should know better.

    @BaghaBoy: Perhaps a racial slur or something about his son….maybe.

  7. Well Materazzi has a reputation to live up to also….once got suspened for 2 months for punching his opponent in teh face. Not that Zidadne is doodh ka dhoola hua either. He has had his fair share of run in with the refs and has got quite a few red cards in the past, the guy clearly has a temper. Put both these two together and you will get a nice jugalbandhi.

  8. People get angry. People do stupid things. He’ll still always be a legend – the headbutt people will forget, the talent people will not. There’s way too much discussion on this, everyone’s gotten pissed off enough to start a fight on a pitch themselves, yet pass judgement when someone else does the same. Get off your high horse boi, you’re exhibiting a classic case of tall poppy syndrome.

  9. One Man Ruined It All.

    Zinedine Zidane.

    What a shame, and what a disgusting way to walk off an impeccable and a glorious career. 😦

    Suyog

  10. Dear GB
    A true legend always should have three vital ingredients in his career.
    1. Exceptional Talent
    2. Terrific Temperament
    3. Controversy
    Zidane had 1 and 2 and yesterday night he achieved No. 3 and a great player has written his name alongside the Gods Pele and Maradona.

  11. Yeah, the blemish is perhaps a reminder that fairytales don’t always happen… perhaps more like a sprint runner who is miles ahead of the others and just decides to walk the last couple of metres and is disqualified. You put it very aptly — “a reminder to all of us of how a single moment of rage can ruin everything that can take an entire lifetime to build”. Life is tough!

  12. Yes this was a full-fledged high-impact head-butt, not like the gentle one Figo got away with in the Netherlands match.
    A sad way to end a brilliant career no doubt, but its been over-hyped. In the context of the match it didn’t make any difference at all: there was only a few mins left for the penalties and yes Zidane would have definitely taken a shot (and probably scored), but Trezeguet would still have been in Lemerre’s list of penalty-takers even with Zidane in. Trezeguet is one of the better penalty takers for France and its unfortunate he missed.
    And the fact that the Italians scored 5 out of 5 (all good shots)to clinch the penalties got missed out in the Zizou drama, which dominated much of match analysis. They were clearly much better prepared than the French in dead-ball situations – their corner kicks also always looked much more menacing.

    But I didn’t understand why Henry and Ribery were taken off during extra-time: again, Henry is a good penalty taker and he wouldn’t have been under the kind of pressure Trezeguet was under, having scored 3 goals in the tournament. And Ribery was still running full steam when he was taken off.
    Overall, I think the better team won. France dominated the 2nd half but Italy were the better team throughout the tournament. And sad for Zizou but this is too little to even faintly tarnish the spectacular career which came to an end yesterday.

  13. All said and done…
    Wht a headbutt!! Made Matarazzi fall flat on his bum. And the fellow was not simulating the fall.
    As they say, if you have to go, better go with guns blazing!!

  14. It was a pretty stupid thing to do by zizou. All i remember thinking was – they got to him. Another thing was that the refree was allowing a bit of physical play go unnoticed on both sides and it appeared that the Italians were making better use of it. Zizou’s “header” left a very uneasy feeling in my gut which is still bothering me. Have been reading pages and pages of press reports to find out what exactly happend. Ironically, like most of us watching the game(with me), I felt sorry for him.

    @choyon – it wasn’t boucher – it was gibbs who dropped it – and the world cup sledge is a myth. Both parties have denied it.

  15. @choyon – it wasn’t boucher – it was gibbs who dropped it – and the world cup sledge is a myth. Both parties have denied it.

    =====

    Yes, i think it was probably the commentator who said that.

    But all in all, I was happy with Italy winning. (sonia gandhi be damned, she doesnt matter here.) They were definitely the better team in the tournament.

    And France was lucky to get the 7th minute penalty, which was unjustified. A big refereeing error. I think that malouda wasnt touched at all by materazzi. and the fall was simulated. To all those who think France are angels, I saw France committing more fouls and play-acting dramas than Italy yesterday.

    Again, France winning the world cup would send out a wrong message. That you can be dull, dour, uncreative and boring (except zidane and to some extent, Henry of course) and still win the world cup.
    France play like a typical European team, albeit rougher and a little like African teams. Rough, but just short of getting yellow cards.
    They are not exactly a joy to watch on the field. Even England and Germany are better to watch than France on the field.
    France are like a computer game. They will play the same way always. But you can still lose to them cos they are very good at whatever limited they do.

  16. Add to that the a taste of bitter in the mouth of every person who saw it. The complete collapse of the celebration that should be the finale of the World Cup.

    Why, Zizou ? Why ?

  17. And after all that, Zidane is awarded the Golden Ball. But Christiano Ronaldo was denied the best young player because of his act to get Rooney red-carded. Some are more equal than others?

  18. After the Brazil-France match, the media were treating Zidane like the god. The headbutting incident showed that he is a mortal human being, who could be tempted striking his weak points.
    Anyway, he got the consolation prize as the golden ball award, not bad considering this his last international tournament. And he was deprived of this award in 1998, which undeservedly went to Ronaldo.

  19. You’ve beaten me to the “giving head” pun. 😦

    The French team by the time the penalties started was like a second XI. No Zizou, Henry, Vierra… I thought Barthez might have to attempt a kick too.

  20. Yes it was absolutely uncalled for, whatever the provocation. (Pity that Zidane didn’t have Sarwan’s powers of repartee!) However I don’t think the incident will leave a lasting blot on his legacy. It was a one-off where he saw red and reacted on instinct before the saner parts of his brain could get through to him – something which, I think, was all too apparent in his reaction afterwards.

  21. As usual another Italian put up another oscar worthy performance. First he tells Zizou ‘terrorist’ twicks Zizou’s nipples, then falls on the ground pretending as he had a broken bone or something.

    Somethings are bigger than football and Zizou did the right thing, not that Italians (footballers) will learn any lesson. They will continue to do what are best at.

    IMO it just wasn’t France’s day, It is unfair to blame Zizou for the loss though. The guy who hit the goalpost would still have taken a shot and who know what would have happened.

  22. @Sanjay: No one, Zidane, Materazzi, or members of the French team have confirmed that Materazzi called Zidane a “terrorist”. This is all speculation at this point, even the nipple-tweaking which is impossible to tell from the video.

    And have you ever been hit by a blow that lands smack on your sternum? Dude, that’s got to hurt. As for play-acting, almost all teams have mastered enough diving and faking at this point to cancel each other’s play-acting out. That Malouda foul and subsequent penalty should have never been awarded.

    All said and done, no one ever denies Maradona’s genius despite the “hand of God” goal and the pathetic mess his personal life is. I’m sure after the initial shock is over, people would only dwell on the sheer poetry and elegance of Zidane’s ball control and passes.

    Oh and can people stop using every single opportunity to slag off Sonia Gandhi’s Italian origins? It is offensive and racist and does immense disservice to every person who has adopted India as their home. Sure, criticise her politics, not her ethnic origins.

  23. Thalassa, No I have never been head-butted by anyone( I have never called anyone a terrorist either) but I have been hit by a Leather cricket Ball twice, once in the back while doing close-in fielding second time on the chest when I mis-judged a high catch, needless to say it hits pretty hard.

    And trust me I am not even Upset over France’s loss, they were one of my least fav. teams despite Zidane.

    On Sonia’s Italian origins, you know what except for those psycophants in Congress most people in India dont even care for Sonia’s Italian origin. They keep reminding us of her roots. Lastly last time I checked Italian wasn’t even a race/ethnicity.

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  25. This reminds of the famous Calcutta test where India fought back and won the test after being asked to follow on. I am not sure whether it was a rumour or a fact but did not McGrath say that during the second innings he used Nagma’s name while sledging Saurav Ganguly and he lost his wicket. On hindisight I feel that Ganguly should have smacked McGrath with his bat. That would have been interesting.
    But this time Italy did indulge in some attacking football (although most of the time they used a lone striker in Toni) unlike in the past where their gameplan was more about concentrating on defence.

  26. YOURFAN writes:
    @GB: I think what Zidane did was extremely unprofessional and unsporting no matter how bad the provocation was. I agree with you where you wrote “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.” But at the end of that line you should have also added..….and make one to lament for rest of his life and one has to pay the price in some form or another for rest of his life.

    I don’t agree with some of your commenters who say that people will forget his bad behavior but will remember him as a great player. Yes, he will be remembered as a great player all right but at the same time people will remember his temper. People forget about anybody’s honest failures/mistakes but definitely not outlandishly bad behavior.

  27. I’ve heard from a confidential source that Materazzi told Zizzou “Touch my chest with your bald head, and you’ll grow hair (like Camoranesi Mauro) before the match is over” and our poor guy fell into his trap.

  28. @Umraao Jaan: Obviously this was a planned verbal attack which was done knowing Zidane’s past history of getting flustered by sledging.

    @Psamtani: Noone said he wont be a legend. The thing is that whenever anyone mentions his name it will be along with mention of his head-butt just as Maradonna’s name always evokes memories of his drug abuse and handballed goal. In contrast, Pele’s memories are unsullied by any such controversies. Zizou had the chance to have a spotless legacy—a chance he let go barely 5 minutes before his career was to end.

    @Nandan: Indeed it is.

    @Suyog: Yes it was a horrible way for him to leave. He owed himself better.

    @Anomit: Can we have the head-butt in bullet-time?

    @Indian Yuppie: Pele—what controversy?

    @Sudipta Chatterjee: Yes it is tough and it takes just a split second for it to all go wrong.

    @Sameer: Perhaps.

    @Deep: Henry had cramps. But Riberie was still running around like his pants were on fire. I also could not understand the rationale of that change. I think that with Zidane on the pitch, France could have made a last run on the Italian goal with minutes to go—-the Italian defense was creaking by that time…..remember Zidane’s scorching header…he was unmarked as far as I remember !

    @Dipanjan: Nipple tweaking should be banned between men.

    @Scipio: 🙂

    @Dhananjay: His head is legendary—thats for sure.

    @///slash\: I felt sorry for him too…..I am a huge fan of his and I so much wanted him to leave with his benign smile. And what happens? He does not come out to take his medal.

    @Gourav: And Matarazzi’s chest will be scarred too….

    @Shadows: I would disagree. This time it was a joy to see Riberie play—I think England was the most boring, overrated, spoilt team out there. I also found it strange that while it was okay for Buffon to go and point out the head-butt to the linesman (no condemnation there!), C. Ronaldo was villified for the same thing against Rooney. C. Ronaldo for me was one of the players of the tournament—he has magic on his feet.

    @SEV: Yes why !

    @Pratyush: At last someone notices !

    @Deep3rdMan: Totally share your sentiments here.

    @Aby: Well perhaps…

    @Anirban: Yes I never got why Ronaldo got it in 1998…..Ronaldo IMHO, despite all his awards, never in the class of the all-time-greats…quite a few pegs below Zizou.

    @Gaurav Sabnis: Second person I beat today ! Barthez is such a shaky goalkeeper—I wonder why France cannot get a better one for so many years.

    @DriveThruCover: I think so too…..a man like him only had to know how to walk away…it was just 5 more minutes before the game and his career would end….

    @Sanjay: Nipple-tweaking as I said before is the limit……a man touching a man’s nipples is just a crime against humanity.

    @Thalassa: Just a point. Sonia Gandhi’s point came in because of the yagna Congress workers did for Italy with Sonia and Rahul’s pictures. If she has adopted India as her home, then why worship Italy to get into her good books?

    I am sure Sonia gandhi had nothing to do with this display of sycophancy simply because it works against all that she tries to represent—-but surely people can laugh at this ridiculous display of boot-licking right?

    @Psamtani: There were many other ways the man could have shown his fire….look at the way Sachin shows “fire” everytime he is sledged. So much so that noone sledges him any more.

    @Rajeev: The best thing would be the Sachin response—–one of the amazing things about Tendulkar is the way he handles sledging by raising his game.

    @MAM: Yes sir, got your point.

    @Yourfan: Yes he will be remembered like Maradonna—a flawed genius. And about the title 🙂

    @Panchu: Is this ABP original?

  29. @Greatbong
    I was just indulging in a bit of sarcasm, was trying to point out the different standards. Just imagine the amount of hate directed at Ganguly if he had done that.
    BTW in a recent poll Zidane beat Homer Simpson to the title of the most famous bald man in the world.

  30. Arnab, I totally agree. The Congress sycophants really need to get their logic straight. I was merely reacting to the other comment above that stated that they’d celebrate Italy’s victory despite Sonia’s Italian origins. That was uncalled for.

    And Sanjay, how is Italian not an ethnicity? Ethnos in Greek means nation. And this is how Webster defines ethnic

    “of or relating to large groups of people classed according to common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin or background”

    On at least three of those counts, Italian is an ethnicity. However, separate from this Italian ethnicity is the concept of Italian citizenship, which can be offered to those who are not necessarily of Italian origin.

  31. I used to console myself that the people who deserve pity are the ones who go bald before 25 as did one of my friends. I am nearing thirty now and I thought I had escaped this debilitating scourge by a hair’s breadth. But Alas! you have removed the illusion I had of being among the more fortunate ones, with one sweeping statement.

    For this I am pretty sure that you will be bald by thirty six!!

  32. Hmm, the baldness-cure theory has a certain believability to it! I know enough people are desperate enough to trust Dr. Batra’s and Berkowitz amongst other assorted hair-healers.

  33. it was as sudden as Mika grabbing Rakhi….bolt from the blue… cost … the entire teams morale and probably the cup too.

  34. Bongo Bhai,

    First, the abosolute best headline about “The Incident” is in
    The New Republic: “Tete Offensive” … I dont think even
    The Economist can “top” that.

    Second, you write:
    >Nipple-tweaking as I said before the limit …
    >is a man touching a s nipples is just a crime against humanity.
    >
    As to it’s criminality, that I grant you. However, it is certainly
    not the maximal offense, for that would be the Hopoate Maneuver(tm).
    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hopoate#Controversy_2

    I hear the Azzurri are already scouring Japanese primary schools
    for a Kancho Koach for World Cup 2010 … for their secret
    4-4-1-KanchoMan lineup.
    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kancho

    –resident ZZ apologist

  35. First he tells Zizou ‘terrorist’ twicks Zizou’s nipples, then falls on the ground pretending as he had a broken bone or something.
    ============
    Ok, all france team supporters,

    I wonder if the french players never dive, never appeal wrongly for fouls and penalty kicks. (hell they won against portugal precisely on that. And took the final to penalties precisely on that). I wonder if the french players never pretend to have a broken bone. I wonder if french players never push other players (see malouda, abidal and sagnol. thuram is their best defender) I wonder if the french players never make racist remarks !!! 🙂

    Sanjay,
    Boy, its a part of the game. Zidane getting 14 red cards and maybe equal number of yellow cards in his career say a lot about his temperament. I have seen Zidane being abusive too. (whether his comments are racist or not , doesnt matter. He must be commenting on other players sisters and moms in Arabic.. Hahh..what difference 🙂 )

    The point here is that comments are part of the game. This is neither the first nor the last time this is happening. Zidane was wrong to react to them. He could have replied with one of his own. Racist comments or comments on family, the difference doesnt matter.

    And yeah, Sanjay
    Materazzi wasnt playing with Zidanes nipples 😀 . He was holding him from running forward, and just that his hand happened to be there. Where did you come to that conclusion. Zidane said that materazzi made a remark, but nothing of the sort you are cooking up. 😀

  36. Oh and can people stop using every single opportunity to slag off Sonia Gandhi’s Italian origins?

    =========

    @ Thalasa,

    Sonia doesnt matter here. I wonder if she even knows how to spell football, whether in English or in Italian. I doubt whether even Italians are bothered about her.

    Its that yagya in support of Italy by the stupid kongressis to please their dumb sphinx of a madam which we are ridiculing. Okay….

    Seems like you are a fan of Sonia and you are supporting italy for that 😀

    sonia or not, Italy was going to win anyway, going by their form and their game. Plus the convincing rout of Germany, as compared to wimpy win of France over Portugal.

  37. C. Ronaldo for me was one of the players of the tournament—he has magic on his feet.
    ==========

    Yes. true. Its the typical British press whining.. should deserve to be ignored.

    Whether c Ronaldo had appealed to the referee or not does not matter, Rooney would have got a red card anyway. Stomping on a fallen opposite player is a red card foul. C Ronaldo is a kid and he made the mistake of winking at the bench, which gave another twist to this thing.

    >>I would disagree. This time it was a joy to see Riberie play—
    ====

    @GreatBong,
    Yes, but just Ribery and Zidane. Who else was interesting. Henry seemed to be playing for the first time in the final. The rest were all dull and boring.
    And yes, England were too, but france seemed to be worse, with their strange kind of football. England had beckham. Many criticise him and dismiss him, but Beckham is one of the best midfielders today. Aaah… those accurate crosses and passes and the perfect long range kicks and corners. That great play-making. Decides in split seconds where to pass the ball. England have good speed which is nice to watch. For me, England was much more interesting than France.

    Many a times, it seemed to me that the french players are actually looking to be fouled. They would just bang straight-on the opposing player or raise their legs so high while kicking…

  38. Shadows :- You seem to have a problem in understanding simple English. I clearly said that France is one of my least fav. teams and I couldn’t care less who actually won the cup. That said IMO there is no place for racial abuse in any sport or anywalk of life. And that Zidane was called a ‘terrorist’ was not really cooked up by me, If you have access to newpapers in the cave you live in, you would have known that.

    One thing is a fact that Materazzi did Insult Zidane. And that Zidane is a Muslim, it’s not really that farfetched. Materrazi saying that he doesn’t even know what an ‘Islamic Terrorist’ is , isn’t very convincing and very typical of him (the kind they display in the football field after deliberating elbowing people). Today only an Italian Senator has come out in a racist attack against the french team :- “beat a team which, in the quest for results, sacrificed its own identity by selecting blacks, Muslims and communists”

    Also as I said, a lot of things are bigger than Football or any other sport, it is not bigger than your personal life, something you will not understand.

  39. Shadows says :- “Zidane said that materazzi made a remark, but nothing of the sort you are cooking up. ”
    ———–
    Shadows, how do you know what was said or not said ? At least my post was based on un-confirmed newspaper reports (which is confirmed now anyway). Read and Weep.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,19762820-2703,00.html

    “But lip-reading experts called in by media outlets including The Times of London, The Daily Mail and The Guardian, along with outlets in Brazil, confirmed that the 34-year-old rammed Materazzi in the chest after the Italian player called him the “son of a terrorist whore”, and then told him to “f… off”.

  40. Shadows, I’m no fan of Sonia and do not care whether she has Italian origins or not. I do have many Italian friends though, and I thought Italy was a very beautiful country when I visited it. I found Italians very generous and warm, especially those from the southern part of the country. But then I have many French friends too, so I guess I was only supporting the Italians because I just liked the team.

    Sanjay: All of this is speculation, pure and simple. Materazzi denies he called Zidane a terrorist, all he admits to saying is a vulgar and coarse remark about Zidane’s wife. I’m inclined to believe him. That sounds more in line with what a thuggish footballer might say.

    And the Italian senator who made those remarks is a known flame-baiter who walked around wearing a t-shirt with the Prophet Muhammad cartoons on them. What he said was despicable and should be condemned strongly, but can be expected from a right-wing moron like him. And it is really not that much different from what France’s very own Jean Marie Le Pen said about the French national team.

  41. If Materazzi insulted Zidane’s Wife/Sister/Mom, then his actions are absolutely justified. In fact, if I were in his place, I would have head butted into Materazzi’s face and smashed his nose and perhaps a few teeth. There is no shame in defending one’s honor….sometimes a man has got to do what he has got to do!!! Period.

  42. Thalassa – the irony is that you dismiss my post as pure speculation and yet willing to take the word of a poser and a faker. How can anyone buy into Materazzi’s “I am ignorant; I don’t even know what an Islamic terrorist is.” statement is beyond me. Typical Italian footballer playing I am ignorant and therefore innocent.

    Now read the link I posted, these are forensic expert talking and not mere speculation.

    http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,2086131,00.html

    “After an exhaustive study of the match video, and with the help of an Italian translator, Rees claimed that Materazzi called Zidane ‘the son of a terrorist whore’ before adding ‘so just f*** off’ for good measure,”

  43. Naah, Monty Python’s “ferocity of the French taunting” wasn’t true, after all.
    Imagine Zidane responding to Materazzi’s filth by picking up a chicken, and hurling it at him saying- “this one is for your mother !”

  44. Sanjay: The fact that Materazzi had insulted Zidane’s wife was stated by Phil Smith, his manager in England. The exact statement being:

    “Materazzi: I didn’t call him a terrorist

    Materazzi admitted that he tweaked the France captain’s nipple as they clashed in extra time. After which, it is alleged Zidane responded: “If you want my shirt so much, you can f****** have it after the game.”

    The Italian said that he then replied: “I’d rather have the shirt off your woman,” a supposed reference to the Frenchman’s wife Veronique.

    Materazzi’s agent Phil Smith said: “There was no way Marco meant to cause such a reaction.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/sport/worldcup2006.html?in_article_id=395065&in_page_id=1892

    This is the only even partially reliable evidence we have on the matter.

    Everything else comes from different so called lip readers who have provided wildly different versions of what Materazzi allegedly said, including “dirty terrorist”, “your sister is a prostitute”, “your mother is a terrorist whore” and “ugly death on you and your family”. The Italian language must be open to wild interpretation for the lip readers to come to such varying conclusions. Any claim of forensic expertise is bollocks.

    And what do you mean by “typical Italian footballer”? There are posers and fakers everywhere in football now, gone are the days we would marvel at the fake diving abilities of Jurgen Klinsmann.

    Also I wonder why there is so much speculation that Materazzi said something racist, whereas there was no such speculation when Zidane stomped on Saudi Arabian Fouad Amin’s foot? Apparently, Amin did indeed say something racist and insulted Zidane’s Berber origins.

  45. Sanjay,, does not read the papers but instead ogles at page 3 babes it seems… and rants thus
    ==========

    You seem to have a problem in understanding simple English. I clearly said that France is one of my least fav. teams and I couldn’t care less who actually won the cup. That said IMO there is no place for racial abuse in any sport or anywalk of life. And that Zidane was called a ‘terrorist’ was not really cooked up by me, If you have access to newpapers in the cave you live in, you would have known that.

    ==========

    @Sanjay,

    Ok you caveman, listen up. If you read the papers, the news is out. It was zidane who started the war of words. And materazzi made a comment about his wife. There was no racist comment. LOL 😀 Pretty much like mcgrath and sarwan sledging case.

  46. I wonder where did those lip reading experts got their ideas from. I think they were watching low resolution videos on youtube.

    Anyway, Its in todays times of India. It was zidane who started the war of words. Something I mentioned on another blog. Materazzi replied back and went on with the game. And the coward zidane struck when materazzi wasnt even looking.

    ok, materazzi seems kiddish when he says he doesnt know what an islamic terrorist is. But he acknowledges that he replied back to zidanes arrogant comment. There was no racist comment. He made a comment on his wife.

    @sanjay,

    first of all, you have proved your ignorance with your stupid comments.

    But now I was wondering if I had said something to you so that you got personal in your response. I dont see anything like that. What a jerk… get a life!!

    If you dont know how to search the internet, read the whole story on paper. Its there on Times sports page in the maharashtra edition. Hey kid, materazzi made a comment on zidanes wife. And kiddo, this is not the first time such comments are made, nor the last time.. And its YOU who are RACIST, you are looking too much into things when there was nothing.

    What the hell, if i call a muslims mother or wife a whore, I am a racist. But if I , being a Hindu call another Hindus wife or mother names, I am not racist.. Baaahhhhh!!!!

  47. >>>

    Read and Weep.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,19762820-2703,00.html

    “But lip-reading experts called in by media outlets including The Times of London, The Daily Mail and The Guardian, along with outlets in Brazil, confirmed that the 34-year-old rammed Materazzi in the chest after the Italian player called him the “son of a terrorist whore”, ……
    ===============

    😀 😀 LOL.. hahahahaha…. LIp reading experts.. hahaha..

  48. Thalassa, I agree.

    I wonder where this moronic Sanjay got the idea that calling someone “son of a terrorist whore” is a racist insult. 😀 Well, according to many, Hindus are the biggest terrorists on earth, arent they? Maybe he thought Zidane is a Hindu. And now, I guess this isnt racist anymore 🙂

  49. Thalassa – I am amazed at your ability to aceept Materazzi’s (or his agent’s) word as it is and then pass it on as a FACT. I am sure you believe him when he says “I dont know what an Islamic Terrorist is”.

    And Phil Smith is his agent not manager, I dont expect him to say anything differently.

  50. Shadows: For the record, calling someone “son of a terrorist whore” is a RACIST insult. It’s a terrible thing to say and should be condemned severly. However, I’m arguing that Materazzi said no such thing and that he insulted Zidane’s wife, which was a cheap and vulgar thing to say, but perhaps less severe than calling someone the “son of a terrorist whore”.

    Also The Australian has got it completely wrong. The Brazilian lip readers said that Materazzi had said to Zidane “your sister is a prostitute” (tua sorella e una putana). The only lip reader who came to the “terrorist whore” conclusion was Jessica Rees, employed by The Times.

    Sanjay: Why would you take the word of a bunch of lipreaders, none of whom are native Italian speakers over Materazzi, who admits to insulting Zidane but has vigorously denied calling him a terrorist? Materazzi has no history of racism, an African striker playing for Inter-Milan is one of his closest friends. Why are you so quick to believe that he is racist? Would this theory at all hold water if Materazzi was not what he is: a white European?

  51. Well,

    How are we to draw an arbitrary line and say a racist insult is bad, but an insult to someone’s mother or sister is not?

    If we accept that it is an inevitable part of football, does it mean that every young footballer might at some point in their life have to develop abuse skills? Not only abuse skills but also the temperament not to react, and to have the presence of mind to draw the line at racist insults? How about religious insults then? How about insults on colour? Or baldness?

    It is embarassing that in professional sports that I love, at the top level, you are expected to be an asshole. But not a racist one.

  52. Thalassa – I am more inclined to believe a lip reader than a faker and poser like Materazzi. Zidane has come out openly and said that it was a personal abuse about his mom and sister. So where does Mr. Liar stand now especially after his statement “I did not bring up Zidane’s mother; for me a mother is sacred.”

  53. @Thalasa,

    >>> For the record, calling someone “son of a terrorist whore” is a RACIST insult.
    =====

    But Materazzi did not say that. We agree here on this. Well, even zizou does not say that materazzi said that. It was a comment on zidanes wife, as per the newspapers.

    Well, hey hey , what do you think, terrorists belong to one community only ? Is that so? At some other place, the liberal seculars verbally killed me for making such an assumption. Ahh there is no justice.
    Where in that sentence does materazzi mention his race ?

    The most important point.. the sequence as per the papers.

    Zidane started it (evident from the tv clips). He did seem arrogant. He said “if you want this ******* tshirt, i will give it to you after the match”. Then materazzi made the comment about his wifes shirt. And zidane lost his head. There was no racist comment, no mother or sister abused. If zidane cannot

    Hey thalasa, 😀 I think that those lipreaders were thinking that it is Italian that he spoke, while materazzi was actually speaking in French.

    now, if you know, there are a lot worse comments that what materazzi said. Really there are. If you are very offended by the comments made by materazzi, then you sure would not like to be on a football field.

    if Zidane is justified, then football should include punching and headbutting as part of the game. Either everyone stops sledging on the field, or everyone does it. There cannot be double standards. Either every act of sledging is fined, or none is !

    @ Sanjay,

    Ha ha ha ha.. ROFL.. 😀 😀 ha ha
    Ok Caveman, Did you read the papers or not 🙂 Better answer my questions than speculate where I speak from.

  54. Matt: On second thoughts, you are right. It’s an arbitrary division, and I feel a bit embarassed as a feminist to have given less gravity to a sexist comment than a racist one. They are both reprehensible, and Materazzi should be condemned for saying what he did indeed say.

    However, he should certainly not be skewered for what he did not say, and even Zidane has now confirmed that the word “terrorist” was not used. I just think it is unfair that an instant assumption of racism was made simply because one protagonist was a white European and other an ethnic Berber/Kabylie.

    And yes, if we are to take pride and joy in competitive sport, such ugly behaviour and abuse has no place in it.

    Sanjay: How closely have you followed Materazzi’s football career. What evidence do you have to accuse him of being a faker and poser? He may be aggressive and vulgar, but nowhere have I read anyone accuse him of being a poser. On the other hand, it is well known that after Zidane was sent off for stepping on Fuad Amin’s foot, he protested innocence saying it was a mere accident. However, it was only later that it emerged that it was retribution for an insult by Amin of Zidane’s Berber origins.

    They are both flawed, one not more than the other.

  55. Thalassa – Honestly I have not followed Materazzi’s career much and not really a great soccer fan. But I watched what happened on that day and I am not buying into “Mothers are Sacred” or “I dont know what Islamic Terrorist is” statement of his. Faking, Diving, Elbowing (and then claiming innocense) are prominent in Italian(and portugese) football and I have followed Italian football enough to know that.

    And thank you for the information about Zidane’s incident against the Saudi player, it kinda proves that Zidane doesn’t normally react unless it is very personal.

  56. Sanjay,
    Theatrics like Diving, elbowing is common to all the football leagues. The only thing is that in Serie A it is more dramatic. Was not the penalty awarded to France in the finals a dubious one? Or the one awarded to the trip by Henry in the semi finals against Portugal.
    Both Zidane and Matterazi will continue to claim they are not at fault. So there is not point in arguing amongst yourself guys.

  57. It is interesting to see the variety of comments that resulted from the infamous “headbutt” incident.

    I agree that it should not have happened, and that it lessened France’s chances of winning the World Cup. But I think that most of France has gotten over it by now and they support the man they call “GOD”! So, it would seem that the rest of the world should get over it too.

    When Zidane was sent off the pitch, I could not get the knot out of my stomach and throat for days, until today. I felt really bad for him, that being his last game and all. It should have been a more graceful exit than that. Materazzi should have allowed Zidane the dignified exit that he deserved. Marco had the audacity to say that he admired Zidane and that he didn’t insult him. Well Marco is not only a rough defenseman (aka bad player) that didn’t really deserve to be on the Italian national team but also a terrible liar.

    Wallstreet Journal (July 13 2006)

    Mr. Materazzi, according to Mr. Zidane, then insulted his mother and sister.

    Some of the lip readers on what Materazzi said:

    Times of London: “son of a terrorist whore”
    BBC: “I hope your family all die ugly deaths”
    Brazilian TV: ….called Zidanes sister a prostitute

    Zidane on what was said by Materazzi: “These were words that touched the deepest part of me….I would have rather taken a punch to the jaw than have heard that….I reacted badly, and I would like to apologize for it….even so I do not regret doing what I did….the guilty one is the one who provokes”

    According to what Zidane said the lip readers were not far off except for the BBC. I believe Zidane is telling the truth.

    NOW – knowing that the Marco was a complete douchebag on the pitch – I’M GLAD THAT ZIZU NAILED THAT BASTARD….HE SHOULD HAVE AIMED FOR THE ITALIAN’S FILTY MOUTH!

    Zidane apologized for the headbutt, but said that he does not regret having delivered the blow. If he feels justified – STILL – then he must have had a good enough reason for nailing Marco. Should have made the boy lose some teeth. That would have been something!

    Zidane’s career has been spectacular! His performances cannot be matched by any other midfielder / playmaker in the world today. I place Zidane above Maradona!

    I’m sorry to see him retired from the sport to which he contributed so much! I hope that he becomes a coach to pass on some of that knowledge…or maybe start up a harem to have a few more little Zizus running around on the pitch with his amazing talent! Hehehehe!

    ZIZU is the SOCCER GOD!

  58. By the way, le coup de tete is now according to the French media the ultimate existential act.
    Draw necessary parallels between Alber Camus et Zinedine Zidane here.

  59. YOURFAN writes:
    @GB: After reading the interview given by Zidane my opinion has changed. If Materazzi made personal attack about his family then in my opinion what he did is understandable. According to Zidane he tried to ignore the unwarranted (in the sense that the comments were not relating to the play) comments but M kept of repeating them. That explains Z’s conduct. But the trouble is this is something where there was no witness – it is one on one which makes the situation very difficult to understand and hence judge. But if (that is a big if) Z’s version is the truth (I guess no one will know the truth but the two of them) then I understand his anguish. Only on that assumption he is no more a fallen hero in my eye. Although I must add that in some newspapers it has been suggested that Z said this in order to save his reputation otherwise he stands to lose so many advertisement contracts. One wonders about the truth.
    In my opinion M should be punished only if this allegation can be proved since Fifa is trying to project the football game to be a gentleman’s game. Personal attack is definitely not a gentlemanly behavior.
    This is exactly my point. If somebody or some group is being attacked personally that gives rise to unnecessary hostility and defuses the issue – whatever be the issue.

  60. On a lighter vein,

    An Indian news team finally figured out by lip reading, why Zidane hit Materazzi

    Matterazzi asked Zidane (while playing)

    BHAIYYA, HUM CHLOR-MINT KYUN KHATE HAIN ?????????????

    Zidane:.(dhishoom)…….. Dobara Mat Puchna!!!!!

  61. A different perspective:

    Or was it a shrewd Zidane – made a multimillion dollar market for his soon-to-be-out (auto)biography?
    Who’d know?!

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