Sunday, July 09, 2006

SACRE BLEUS!

Holy shit, Zinedine Zidane made a hilariously stupid play that will forever taint his legacy. After appearing to have words with Marco Materazzi of Italy, Zidane turned towards him, lowered his head, and slammed it into Materazzi's chest. It was so random and unexpected, that I couldn't help but laugh. Like, what douchebag would risk costing his team the game in his own last game of his career and in the waning minutes of a World Cup final? And this was not Zizou's first blow-up on the pitch.

MSNBC's Filip Bondy:

Imagine Michael Jordan head-butting John Stockton, acting like Dennis Rodman instead of making the winning shot.

It is an absurd notion, but there you have it. Zinedine Zidane goes into the history books now as a knucklehead, not a genius. He went out like a thug, butting Marco Materazzi, when he might have gone out the hero.
...
This was a blatant, stupid foul in the 110th minute, and not the first time he’d done something so loony. Zidane had committed the same foul a half dozen years ago when he was playing for Juventus in the Champions League, another head butt against Hamburg. He’d stomped on a Saudi player at the 1998 World Cup, getting suspended then for two matches.

There were hints of his anger, just minutes before the head butt. Zidane had given a ball back to Italy, as required by etiquette, but he purposely knocked it out along the sideline for a difficult throw-in, rather than kick it to Buffon. This infuriated the Italians.

Moments later, he was backpedaling with Materazzi, far from the ball, exchanging a little trash talk, when the madness overtook him. He made no attempt to disguise the head butt, which was seen not by the referee, Horacio Elizondo, but by a referee’s assistant, a linesman.



The backward dive--another Italian soccer innovation



"Bow down to a true pimp, bitch!"



"What, Mr. Referee, I didn't just slam my forehead into Marco's sternum!"

I'd LOVE to post a picture of Zidane's head actually slamming into Materazzi's chest but I can't find one ANYWHERE, most notably fifaworldcup.com, which has 180 pictures of everything EXCEPT the headbutt. Trying to maintain some dignity for him, FIFA? Guess what--you're wasting your time. The pictures above are from FOX Sports.

It's bullshit that Italy wins the Cup after the faux Australia penalty kick. Right now though, I can't get over the head butt. What a bonehead!

As for my predictions, I picked the winners right, although the final was admittedly much tighter than I expected.

UPDATE - Hooray for YouTube! Here's the video:


Play it over and over again. I know I did!

UPDATE 2 - From what I have gleaned, Materazzi had his arm wrapped around Zidane and may have "tweaked" his nipple. If that's the case, my best guess of the words that were exchanged is this:

ZIDANE: OW, don't touch my nipple you faggot!

Materazzi: Faggot?...I was doing that to your mother last night!

ZIDANE: Oh yeah? Your mother was screaming 'Zizou, Zizou' before the match!

Materazzi: Nobody talks about my mother like that, you fake Frenchman! You Algerian, you're really an African.

ZIDANE (walking away slowly): African! Now you've gone too far. Don't make me headbutt your ass!

Materazzi: Do it, I dare you!

ZIDANE (turning around, lowering head): Fine, bitch!


UPDATE 3 - Adrian over at Boom Bang-a-Bang has a good summary of the media speculation on what was actually said between Zidane and Materazzi.