Zidane getting red carded
Photo from ESPNSoccernet

Well, here is a link to dailymail.co.uk article “Revealed: The disgusting abuse that sparked Zidane’s fury” that claims to prove what Materazzi said to Zidane that sparked the now infamous headbut which got him ejected from the World Cup Final this past sunday.

Snipped from the article…

With the help of an expert lip reader the Daily Mail was able to decipher what led to the violent outburst.

First defender Marco Materazzi spoke in Italian – a language understood by Zidane who once played for Italian side Juventus – grabbed his opponent and told him ‘hold on, wait, that one’s not for a n***** like you.’

It is not clear whether the Italian was referring to the ball heading their way or his own groping of Zidane.

The expert, who can lip read foreign languages phonetically and translate with the aid of an Italian interpreter, was unable to see what Zidane said in reply.

But she saw that as the players walked forward Materazzi said: ‘We all know you are the son of a terrorist whore.’

Then, just before the headbutt, he was seen saying,: ‘So just f*** off.’

This tends to jive with comments by Zidane’s agent saying that Materazzi said something “very serious” (FSW, Soccernet), but Zidane didn’t want to repeat it. Of course, Materazzi denies all of this.

It is unfortunate that all this happened, as it tends to put a cloud over an otherwise excellent game. We will never know if Zidane may have scored or created a winning goal for France in the final minutes. France was definitely in control at the time and had pushed Italy back into a defensive posture. Zidane is also one of the better penalty kick takers on the French team (France missed one kick).

I would think also that Italy would have preferred to have won the title “fair and square”, man to man without the other side weakened. Of course, you take any victory you can get any way you can get it in the World Cup Finals, especially considering Italy’s recent heartbreaking performances in major tournaments. But surely, they would like to remove the little asterisk that says “opponent’s best player sent off”.

Now from Zidane’s side, I have to say that it really was a bone headed (although understandable) move on his part. Honestly, with all that is at stake, at that point in the game you know, just KNOW, that you have to keep your cool. Call him out later in the post-game press conference as a classless individual. Kick him in the shins later over a 50/50 ball. Insult his mother too. Anything. But don’t head-butt him in the chest in the middle of the field with no one else around you and billions of people watching on hundreds of cameras.

And if he does piss you off soooo much that you have to retaliate right then and there, well then at least make it worth it. Kick him in the balls to bring him down (dude is like 6’5″ or something), then step on his throat, take off your shoe and pummel him in the head with it. Make the security guards drag your punching, kicking, screaming, biting self away from his carcass. THEN it was worth it. But a head-butt to the chest? Honestly the most you can hope for is to knock the wind out of him.

Time will tell how Zidane is viewed over the course of his career, but I think people will choose to overlook it, especially if these rumors of what Materazzi said are true.