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See YOU Zinny? Or what happened to Zizou?

July 10, 2006

Just what was Zidane thinking of? What WAS he thinking of? It was the most startling end to the final, indeed it was so incredible that this one incident had the dramatic and emotionally shocking power to cast a pall over not just the final but the whole tournament. The talk shows on radio are filled with it this morning._41868108_zidanethisafp203

There is something Shakespearian about it all. Or operatic is maybe better given the opponents. The best player of the last generation, some say behind only Pele and Maradona. A player who always seemed to reserve his best for the big games, unlike his compatriot Henry. Remember the 1998 goals against Brazil. Remember his stunning volley in the Champions League Final. Remember his resurrection in this tournament, before his dramatic fall. Ten minutes, just ten minutes from a potentially glorious denouement to a wonderful career, he falls prey to his worst excesses.

It is the stuff of Greek tragedy. That it should mark his final ever football game is almost too big to imagine. What an end.

That said, alongside some tremendous matches, this was a competition riddled with deceit. Think Christiano Ronaldo. That it should end this way was also grimly appropriate. Perhaps FIFA will be moved to do something serious about racism in football if, as it is currently alleged, Zizou’s madness was sparked by racist comments. Instead of the ludicrous pantomime of team captains reading a covenant to end racism, if Materazzi made unsavoury comments, make him pay. Instead, they announce Zidane as the player of the tournament with the so-called Golden Ball award.

Only FIFA could come up with such an award. Zidane now has two Golden Balls (!!), one from 1998. It just wouldn’t be the form to give it to Italian defenders like Cannavaro, Grosso or Zambrotta, nor their tough midfielders Gattuso or the imperious Pirlo. Now it had to go to the showy player! (Spot the embittered former member of the Centre-Halves Union).

From → Footie

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