Sunday, July 16, 2006

Zizou, Raging Bull

So I've been catching up on Zidane's head-butting incident...

No matter what your final opinion is of what happened, I think you have got to admit that it was one hell of a thug-classic move! An mvp footballer of his stature 'getting even' on the field not by punching a guy in the face or using his feet, but by ramming his head like a bull into the chest of his adversary, knocking him out on the pitch of World Cup final with 10 minutes to the end of the game to go.

Who could have expected that? Like classic Hollywood mafia movie scenes, I think this one will be remembered and even copied by the young ones for some time to come.

And it was clear from that moment on that Italy would be screwed either way. If France won, it would go out with that classic finale from the retiring Zidane. And if Italy won the cup, it would be clear to most people that it had done it unfairly.

And so we waited to hear from Zidane on what the other guy really said...

The first article I read was through Yahoo's handy news material. I thought this one, although mentioning the "tough words" about the mother and sister part, kind of played to the crowd that would like to see him as a reactionary idiot:

"I knew it was my last game and I knew there were only 10 minutes to play but things happened very swiftly," he said.

"I am a man before anything else."

*Arab male chauvinism*...delivered.

"If someone can read (Materazzi's) lips, they will show that I'm telling the truth. The one who is really guilty must be punished," Zidane said.

"I don't want to attack anyone but I want to defend myself. I did something wrong and I was punished for that. I ended up alone in the changing rooms," Zidane said.

"But I was the one who was provoked and I reacted. It is always the one who reacts who is punished, never the one who provokes and this is not fair," he said.

Zidane apologized for his behavior but he said he could not regret it.

Then the article closes with Materazzi's rebuttal:


Earlier Materazzi had denied making any mention of Zidane's mother.

"I said nothing to him about race, religion or politics I did not talk about his mother either," the defender was quoted as saying in an interview given on Wednesday to sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I lost my mother when I was 15 and it still upsets me to talk about it.

Of course I didn't know that his mother was in hospital. I send her my best wishes.

"Zidane was always my hero. I admire him greatly," Materazzi added.

Which leaves us in a flimsy position, thinking eh...maybe he did, maybe he didn't...but with an image of the Arab reactionary and male chauvinist more likely tipping the balance.

So I follow the link at the bottom of the page to a related article by the BBC. The little extra touch of providing us with what the lip-readers actually said totally offsets our previous balance:


BBC Radio Five Live asked a deaf lip reader to read Materazzi's words phonetically to an Italian translator:

She deciphered the insult as being "you're the son of a terrorist whore"


The BBC's Ten O'Clock News called in experts to study the television footage who said:

Materazzi told Zidane to "calm down" before accusing him of being a "liar" and wished "an ugly death to you and your family". This was followed by "Go f*** yourself"

Materazzi is not so innocent after all. He now appears guilty of racism which will not only shun him in public opinion, but is indeed punishable by FIFA law as Zidane says.

Even the quotes speaking of the same events are different:

Yahoo quote:

"He then pronounced very tough words, words that hurt me deeply, words about my mother and my sister. At first, I tried not to listen to him but he kept repeating them," Zidane said.

"I knew it was my last game and I knew there were only 10 minutes to play but things happened very swiftly," he said.

"I am a man before anything else."

Materazzi has denied mentioning Zidane's mother during the game in Berlin last Sunday.

BBC quote:

"Do you imagine that in a World Cup final like that with just 10 minutes to go to the end of my career, I am going to do something like that because it gives me pleasure?"

Since the incident, rumours have run rife about what Materazzi said to get such a reaction from the Frenchman.

As you see both reports may leave you with considerably different impressions.

Which kind of makes you wonder about *the* source you depend on for news. Perhaps my own naivety leads me sometimes to forget that even more trusted news sources are not always God's-eye views on moments or events in time. And then again that's too much to ask for. One forgets or doesn't want to think about the average Joe who's working behind a desk and recording a view point which you may or may not see eye-to-eye with, something which hit home especially with some of the articles I had read in both the international and local press about the events that were recently happening down in Cairo.


The BBC then goes in for the kill with an article on Materazzi, portraying him as the classic villain clown:

Marco Materazzi's career has always had an element of car crash chaos - even during his brief spell at Everton.

And never has it been more evident than in his pivotal contribution to Italy's World Cup final win against France.

I mentioned in one of my World Cup blogs that you should keep an eye on this boy because things happen when he is around. It's safe to say he proved me right in Berlin's Olympic Stadium.


He was being picked for Italy by Giovanni Trapattoni and Marcello Lippi - men who know a defender when they see one.

And yet the self-destruct button was still close at hand.

Materazzi was captured on camera viciously elbowing Juan Pablo Sorin of Villarreal in a Champions League clash last season, and his World Cup started in no less dramatic fashion.

Entering the fray as replacement for the injured Alessandro Nesta, Materazzi scored against the Czech Republic and was then harshly dismissed against Australia after an accident-prone incident that actually saw him foul his own player.

Balancing this is another pundit article from the BBC on Zidane, hardly concealing the 'Oh, the shame!' from the beginning on end.


Memz said...

welcome back! It has been a while!

Mohamed said...

Imagine that Zidan was black and some other player kept calling him the n word and repeating it over and over again, would somebody blame him then if he
punched him or head butted him or even kicked him in the nuts. I believe Zidan 100% and really respect him for what he did (when did we lose our manhood and it became ok to let it go when someone
calls our moms terrorist whores or whores for that matter).
Zidan ragel, I salute him.

Seneferu said...

Yay, comments!

Doubting Thomas said...

Whatever, soccer needs more stuff like that. It was great! Why throw the guys off the field? Give 'em a penalty of course but ejection seems to harsh...