What was said to Zidane?
July 9, 2006 1:59 PM   Subscribe

What was said to Zidane?

He's an older player, about to retire. Why would he pull an amateurish stunt like he did in the final minutes of the 2006 World Cup final?
posted by Mr. Gunn to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (73 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
unless there is an insider lurking on AskMe I don't think this can be answered. Watch the news, it may come out eventually, but my bets are on not.

posted by edgeways at 2:04 PM on July 9, 2006

Maybe lip reader can tell us.

I'd wager it was something racist or about Zidane's mum.
posted by the cuban at 2:07 PM on July 9, 2006

Best answer: The Guardian says Materazzi tweaked his nipple.
posted by goo at 2:07 PM on July 9, 2006

At this point you'd assume he's heard every racist comment etc. Pauvre Zizou :(
posted by jamesonandwater at 2:08 PM on July 9, 2006

Anyone know what caused Zidane to get red carded in '98 against Saudi Arabia? Everything I've read alludes to something being said, but never what actually the person did say. Utterly demoralizing end to the cup...
posted by buddha9090 at 2:12 PM on July 9, 2006

Utterly demoralizing end to the cup...

Yes, but rather typical of the Italian team. I wish ANYONE had won but them... a team that is known for it's diving and trash talking should not receive such honors.
posted by SpecialK at 2:23 PM on July 9, 2006

Yet it was a French dive that caused the first goal (the replay showed little if any contact), the fouls were consistently even and Zidane obviously overreacted to a little head game. To say that Italy did not deserve the cup is ludicrous. Never mind that their second goal was disqualified for being offsides when it was obviously not...
posted by cyphill at 2:33 PM on July 9, 2006

a replay Where's the tweak? Whatever, Zidane should know better.
posted by bluesky43 at 2:35 PM on July 9, 2006

the replay might be at the very beginning of bluesky's video, but even if it exists that doesn't at all warrant the head butt.
posted by andifsohow at 2:40 PM on July 9, 2006

3 Italian players were all offside, the replay proved this conclusively. Neither of these teams deserved to win the World Cup.

As for Zidane, nobody will ever know why he did it.
posted by fire&wings at 2:56 PM on July 9, 2006

Someone edited Materazzi's Wikipedia page to claim (supposedly based on lip-reading) that he called Zidane a terrorist ... the edit was removed. Anyway, most unreliable source ever, but it's a theory.
posted by lbergstr at 2:57 PM on July 9, 2006

This is a very interesting point. Apart from cameras, will we now have to have microphones all over the place now? No doubt that the italian, Matterazzi, said or did something assholy, but he must have been doing it all along the game for someone like Zidane to take notice. Perhaps he said something about his family or wife, sister or something? I doubt that it is enought to twist his nipple to shake him up, like he was.
It would be very interesting to hear Zidane's version on this one! In any case, I lost respect for the Italians on Zidane getting so upset.
posted by KimG at 3:00 PM on July 9, 2006

Maybe he yanked on Zidans bad arm..?
posted by dabitch at 3:03 PM on July 9, 2006

argh, cant spell
posted by dabitch at 3:03 PM on July 9, 2006

According to wikipedia "A player is in an offside position if 'he is nearer to his opponents' goal line than both the ball and the second to last opponent'". The Italians were in a position that would have been considered offsides had the ball been there, but by the time the ball traveled down the field a French player had moved even with them, making the move legal. I looked for a clip of the goal but was unable to find one.
posted by cyphill at 3:07 PM on July 9, 2006

but by the time the ball traveled down the field a French player had moved even with them, making the move legal

"Offside" is judged at the beginning of a pass.
posted by cillit bang at 3:12 PM on July 9, 2006

Offsides is from when the ball is kicked. The Italians were closer to the goal than both the ball and the last defender (besides Barthez) when the ball was kicked, and were therefore offsides.
posted by maxreax at 3:13 PM on July 9, 2006

Great, there I go throwing my ignorance out everywhere again
posted by cyphill at 3:22 PM on July 9, 2006

In any case, I lost respect for the Italians on Zidane getting so upset.

That's one way to look at it.
posted by Prince Nez at 3:26 PM on July 9, 2006

Here's the requisite Youtube link.
posted by Juggermatt at 3:38 PM on July 9, 2006

Zidane.fr has actualit&#0233 on the event.. but i cannot read french. Any linguists here?
posted by dash_slot- at 3:44 PM on July 9, 2006

forget why zidane did it, why did he do it so lamely in his chest? whats wrong with an old fashioned glasgow kiss on the nosher? headbutt to the chest, its so unmanly
posted by criticalbill at 3:46 PM on July 9, 2006

What ever it was that bothered him came after the tweeking.
posted by popcassady at 3:46 PM on July 9, 2006

It was a shame, but Zidane richly deserved his red card, no matter what was said or done. I thought it was a fairly entertaining game, at least until the start of extra time, though I thought Italy rather nicked it overall.
posted by athenian at 3:48 PM on July 9, 2006

Today in the World Cup Final, we were offered a unique perspective on the divergence of a singular and quintessential historical kernel.


Willy Sangol, is dealt the ball to the wing, as his heroic teamate sprints into the box. The passionate French defender squares up infront of an exhausted Italian line. He chips into the box, as the ball spins quietly through the air. Anticipation builds amongst the crowds as number 10 locks his eyes on the ball.

We see an aging warrior, tired and beat down from injury and time. His arm and chest, throbbing, yet he never relents in the face of national glory. He leaps up from muscles that forgot how to spring to such heights. In this leap, he turns back the clock to 1998; the only sign to contradict is the ever growing balding patch on the top of his head. The ball closes in on his shiny head and his legs flutter, as he attempts to inch as high as possible. It is as if he were lifted by the Gods themselves.

The ball is struck beautifully, attacking the net with a rath and fury that cannot be denied. The heroic Buffon makes an acrobatic move to block its impetus, but it is just too much. It cambers off his hand, into the net. For a split nano-second, silence pervades Munich, as the spectators witness something that is beyond storybook; it is seemingly unfathomable. Years later, this heroes finest hour will be emblazened in the minds of the youth, from France and beyond. His aura will never die...

What could have been, all changed.
In one instance of time.
I hope we will remember Zidane for more than what occured today.
posted by stratastar at 4:13 PM on July 9, 2006

why did he do it so lamely in his chest? whats wrong with an old fashioned glasgow kiss on the nosher? headbutt to the chest, its so unmanly

He was trying to get away with it. Doing it in the chest there's much less chance of cutting him. If th ref turned around and saw Materazzi covered in blood, it would have been much more obvious that someone from France deserved a card.
posted by ChasFile at 4:15 PM on July 9, 2006

A headbutt to the chest? Lame.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:19 PM on July 9, 2006

I thought it was a fairly entertaining game, at least until the start of extra time,

Ugh, are you kidding? From the offsides no-goal early in the second half on Italy was playing to not concede and force PKs. That game stunk.
posted by ChasFile at 4:20 PM on July 9, 2006

mais pourquoi? mais pourquoi?
posted by blue_beetle at 4:32 PM on July 9, 2006

dash_slot: Zidane.fr has actualit&#0233 on the event.. but i cannot read french. Any linguists here?

I'll give it a shot. Excuse the literal translations in parts, I don't really want to rephrase.

Cruel outcome:
... A terrible finish for the blues who throught [the match] dominated the italians, but who equally finished the match without a Zidane, who was seeing red.


110th minute:
Explusion of Zidane. The French captain gave a violent knock of the head to the torso of Materazzi several seconds after an exchange between the two men on the pitch. Logical sanction (?) and unthinkable end for the career of Zidane (Zizou).


Zidane (5.5) [don't know what the # refers to]: ... But he is ultimately the great disappointment of this final, his last match finishing at the 110th minute with a terrible explusion. He deserved a better exit, but he went to pieces (lit: his nerves broke. strange phrase.)

So, not much useful.
posted by devilsbrigade at 5:34 PM on July 9, 2006

Throught is, of course, through out.
posted by devilsbrigade at 5:35 PM on July 9, 2006

Words were plainly exchanged. Zidane is a Berber. Maybe something particularly insulting to a Berber was said. If so, since what is particularly insulting to a Berber is probably not common knowledge in Italy, the remark was probably calculated and planned in advance: a tactic. It is an established tactic for teams to provoke their opponents into misbehaving. However, as someone pointed out, Zidane's probably heard it all before.

My own take is that he decided, for whatever reason, to show himself bigger than the event. In this he succeeded. This final will be remembered for Zidane's headbutt, not for the Italian victory. It was an almost mystical gesture which, if not elucidated, will be discussed and interpreted for decades to come.
posted by londongeezer at 5:38 PM on July 9, 2006

Londongeezer may be correct on that last bit, interesting.

I got the impression, from the jibber jabber of the american announcers (save us) that, were it not for the "instant replay" of the in stadium jumbotrons, that the refs would not have seen the foul and he would have gotten away with it. That is, as freakish as the assault was, it was done with enough cunning that in almost any other game it would have worked.
posted by asparagus_berlin at 5:54 PM on July 9, 2006

asparagus_berlin: and should have worked. refs are supposed to have seen it with their own eyes, not on a replay, iirc.
posted by devilsbrigade at 6:01 PM on July 9, 2006

I thought they concluded that the fourth official saw it happen. Maybe not?
posted by danb at 6:08 PM on July 9, 2006

I too understood that the fourth official saw it. Did they show the instant replay on the jumbotrons in the stadium? Here in Argentina the announcers seemed to think the crowd hadn't seen/didn't believe that Zidane had done much of anything, whereas the replay made it quite clear that he deserved a red card.
posted by matematichica at 6:36 PM on July 9, 2006

Fox sports reports players in the french camp have said it was a 'racial slur'.
posted by MetaMonkey at 7:33 PM on July 9, 2006

This reminds me of the Pistons-Pacers melee as well as the Oakland A's game where The Rangers pitcher threw a chair into the stands. DON'T REACT. Whether to a fan or to another player. You are a professional athlete, not to mention one with class like Zidane. Just leave it. You have a game to play. Jesus.
posted by ORthey at 7:35 PM on July 9, 2006

hmm, some random thoughts, excuse me but I just got back from celebrating in the streets for the last three hours, and all the screaming and car horns and public nudity made me a bit groggy

see, Yasid (it's Zidane's real name, did you know that? that's how he was known to the Marseilles young thugs he used to hang out with) is not really the nicest guy evar -- I guess many of you guys must be unfamiliar with his long history of red cards (17 or 18 in his career, TV commentators disagreed tonight, and that's a fuckload especially for a guy who doesn't play defense), and almost all of his red cards are for violent attacks away from the ball, just like tonight.

I remember that in in 2000 when he played for Juventus he did something awesome -- he played against Hamburg in the Champions League and he was coming back from a 2 game suspension for a red card. about an hour into the game, he head butted a German, almost breaking his cheekbone, and he got an almost unheard-of UEFA five game suspension.

Real Madrid fans will tell you similar stories about Zidane's famous temper, and his memorable red cards.

pro soccer is not like the WWF -- trash talk does not equal kicking a guy's ass. Materazzi almost certainly told him something (please don't believe that silly nipple-twist story from the Guardian, Materazzi just holds on to the front of Zidane's jersey, over his heart, where the red stripe is, just that), Zidane began to walk away, you see Materazzi's mouth moving (it's a medium shot and not even on my 42-inch screen I could read Materazzi's lips)

after he gets hit and comes back to his feet, in close up, Materazzi yells at the assistant ref on the sidelines, and it's very easy to read his lips. he goes, in Italian:
"Tutto il mondo ha visto, tranne te? Tutto il mondo! E tu?"
which means, "The entire world saw that, and you didn't? The entire world! What about you?"

simultaneously, Buffon, the Italian goalie, who was the closest, runs towards the assistant ref yelling "Hai visto? Hai visto?", "did you see, did you see?"

keep in mind that the refs have little radios with mikes and earphones to communicate throughout the game. right then, the assistant ref on the sidelines (the balding guy) must tell something, via radio link, to the ref in the middle of the field, the gray-haired tan guy. the ref meets with his assistant on the sidelines, they have a VERY brief exchange (my Spanish is not that good, sorry), then he comes back to the center of the field and he shows the red card to Zidane.

then the French coach, Domenech (Zidane threw a water bottle at him ten days ago, remember?) loses his shit.

cut to Materazzi, who in extreme close up now yells (and this is genius) "Stai muto!" three times (Shut Up!, literally "Stay mute")

I'm sure tomorrow we'll know exactly what, but the point is in soccer you don't get red cards for trash talk (unless you insult the refs of course), you get red cards for head butts. one figures a guy with Zidane's experience knows that you just ignore trash talk. he didn't, and was sent off, for the 17th or 18th time in his pro career. google it up for yourself, it's a fuckload of red cards, and he didn't always play against Materazzi, really.

was it a racial slur? well, you have to take Zidane's word for it, only he and Materazzi know unless we can really read Materazzi's lips enhancing the footage. it'd be strange because France had eight black players, a racist would insult them way before he insulted Zidane. we just don't know, really.

anyway if you're really interested bookmark this thread, if things become clearer I'll post the mean, mean things Materazzi must have told Zidane. maybe he even glared at him, or something. of course racism is despicable, but at this point it's a theory. what we know is that Zidane did headbutt him.

the game itself was very disappointing, it was Italy's worst performance in the Cup (the USA match was the second-worst, Germany and Ukraine were the best by far, they played Ghana pretty well and Australia pretty weakly). and yes, it hurts to lose a world cup on penalty kicks, Italy did in '94 and I still remember that crap night.

Zidane demonstrates that, like Caravaggio, you can be a marvelous artist and a thug. it's misleading to romanticize artists -- or soccer geniuses -- like that. Maradona was a cheat and a cokehead, but he was also the best player there ever was. I miss him and I'll miss Zidane

having said that, sometimes bad deeds go punished indeed.

posted by matteo at 7:39 PM on July 9, 2006 [7 favorites]

Apparently it was not shown in the stadium.
posted by Chuckles at 7:40 PM on July 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

no, it wasn't, soccer is not American football, it doesn't work like that, with slo-mo replays being fed to the giant screen in the stadiums
posted by matteo at 7:46 PM on July 9, 2006

The Attacker is in an offside position when he is closer to the goal than both the last defender (except for the Goal Keeper) and the ball at the moment that the ball is played or touched by the previous player.

The Attacker will be fouled for being offside only if he plays the ball, plays another player or otherwise benefits from being in that offside position.

Italy should not have proceeded passed the final 16.

The Italians have been very good at the mindgames this time around. They have done just enough in every game not to lose while maximising their opportunities for free kicks. The Australians had a reputation for playing roughly and it was obvious from the beginning of that game what their tactic was. I support the notion of a pre-meditated insult. Probably not designed to have Zidane sent off, but certainly enough to shake him for the inevitable penalty shootout. I think that it worked better (for the Italians) than expected.

I've been surprised by both Zidane and Rooney's reds. I'd have thought that both have been around long enough to know that the chances are that a red in a WC final game will result in your team losing.
posted by dantodd at 7:50 PM on July 9, 2006

Thanks for clearing up whether the incident was jumbotroned or not - the link given went to a metafilter post where someone else was influenced by the jibber-jabber of the ABC commentators. (I was seriously wondering if I had simply made it up!)

Looking more and more like he simply snapped his cap at the Bill Laimbeer of Italian football.

OTOH, you'd think that if Zidane was gonna str8 snap and go off on this dude, he'd make sure to take him out of the game, punch him in the head. OTOOH, if he hit me with his head, my ribcage would probably collapse.
posted by asparagus_berlin at 8:01 PM on July 9, 2006

Italy's coach Marcello Lippi last night insisted Marco Materazzi said nothing to provoke Zinédine Zidane into the extraordinary head-butt that led to the France captain's late dismissal. Lippi claimed the referee Horacio Elizondo had received help from an official on the sidelines for "a flagrant breach of Fifa's rules" before sending Zidane off.

"You will realise it was not Materazzi who got the attention of the referee," said Lippi. "It was the fourth and fifth officials looking at the video at the edge of the pitch. We did not do anything. They saw it and they called the attention of the referee."

posted by Gyan at 8:28 PM on July 9, 2006

A couple of things can be cleared up based on what I heard at the time.

1. On the Canadian feed (which I think originates from the BBC) they confirmed that Zidane's head butt had NOT appeared on any of the screens. They do have replays in the stadiums, but not on anything controversial.

2. A head butt to the chest might seem kind of lame. A head butt - with that kind of force - to the sternum is NOT lame at all. I once played in a rugby game in which one of our second row forwards got an (accidental in this case) head butt similar to Zidane's handiwork and it broke his sternum and bruised his heart and he was in quite a serious medical condition according to the reports from the hospital that came back to us.

3. (pure opinion) I thought that they should have given Buffon a yellow for all of his chatter.
posted by mikel at 8:36 PM on July 9, 2006

he may have called Zidane a Harki
posted by destro at 9:27 PM on July 9, 2006

From destro's link:
'Nobody knows if Zidane is an angel or demon,' says the rock singer Jean-Louis Murat, who is himself a fan of the player. 'He smiles like Saint Teresa and grimaces like a serial killer.'
posted by Chuckles at 9:52 PM on July 9, 2006

Great link, destro -- that article really gives a fuller picture of Zidane the man.

I feel great pain for him. His presense was so glaringly missing in the celebrations after the game. One could only imagine what he was thinking then. He still seems the great hero - though more on a human scale now.
posted by Surfurrus at 12:33 AM on July 10, 2006

Some Materazzi Specials on YouTube.
posted by Prince Nez at 1:48 AM on July 10, 2006

On youtube comments Materazzi reported member of racist organisation in Italy.
posted by londongeezer at 2:01 AM on July 10, 2006

Of course, if he was Portuguese a head butt would only have been worth a yellow.
posted by biffa at 2:40 AM on July 10, 2006

A few bits of added information:

FIFA are denying Lippi's claim that the fourth official tipped the referee off to the headbutt after watching the video replays on pitchside monitors (which would be in breach of FIFA's "no replays" rule).

The report that Materazzi may have called Zidane a "terrorist" seem to have originated from L'Equipe, the French newspaper. Where they got it from is unclear (nobody else is reporting it).

Just to correct the impression matteo may have (inadvertently) given upthread, Zidane hasn't said anything about Materazzi's comments being racist, and neither has any other player or official. Zidane hasn't said anything at all.

The only French players that I know of who have commented at all on what Materazzi's actions are William Gallas and David Trezeguet. Gallas said: "When I see this, I want to smash his face. Sometimes when you have a player who is very clever and says something to you then maybe you are angry and want to 'kill' that player."

However, he added, "I don't know what he said. You'll have to ask him but he's gone. I know why he's gone because maybe he's done something wrong."

Trezeguet said: "Zizou can leave with his head held high; the other one, even if he has won the Cup, cannot."
posted by flashboy at 5:00 AM on July 10, 2006

Oh, and Zidane was awarded the Golden Boot award for player of the tournament, just beating Cannavaro. It was decided by a vote of international journalists... during half-time in the final. Which explains why he won it.
posted by flashboy at 5:03 AM on July 10, 2006

Zizou won the Golden Ball award. Golden Boot is for the top scorer.
posted by the cuban at 5:20 AM on July 10, 2006

*slaps self upside head*

Yes. Ball. Not Boot. Klose won the Boot. Zidane got the Ball.
posted by flashboy at 5:21 AM on July 10, 2006

Materazzi is one of the most vicious thugs playing in Italian football, and that's saying something (check out that link from Prince Nez). That's one of the reasons it was great to see him get kicked around during the Germany match, for once he received more spikes than he gave... he even got a free kick ball to the face, it was priceless. I sincerely hope he blows out a knee and then gets run over by the ambulance.

But still, he didn't do anything to Zidane to warrant the head butt. Zidane lost his nerve to trash talk!? For fuck's sake, what a way to end a brilliant career. Still, as Matteo points out, it's not like he hasn't always had this nasty streak.
posted by sic at 6:21 AM on July 10, 2006

videogame of the day: headbutt Materazzi, lose the cup

stay tuned for Photoshop goodness later in the day. among the most popular images:

and an oldie, but always good, of France's foremost anger-management specialist:

anyway the Guardian, wisely, seems to be backtracking from both the "nipple twist" and the "terrorist" BS:

But amid the whirlpool of rumour and counter-rumour surrounding the incident there was no suggestion it was due to a racist comment.

we'll see, we'll see. the French team went to the Elysée this morning, Zidane was there, and I am happy to report that he didn't beat Jacques Chirac.
posted by matteo at 8:14 AM on July 10, 2006

You know, Matteo, Materazzi is not such an "anger management specialist" himself--doesn't anyone else remember when he was suspened for five months for punching Bruno Cirillo?
posted by maxreax at 9:10 AM on July 10, 2006

I am still thinking about this today.

Did anyone else notice that when Zidane hurt his shoulder -- he asked for a sub? Right after that they took Vierra and Gitarey (sp?) out ... but left ZZ in there. Maybe he knew he was at the end of his rope.

I don't like to watch the way they pour "magic water" over the injuries of these guys and then just send them out for more. It reminds me of dog fights.
posted by Surfurrus at 9:22 AM on July 10, 2006

Please see the video link posted above by prince nez. It explained a lot to me, and made me less angry at Zizou.

ZZ used to play for an Italian team, and I'm sure he's known Materazzi for a long time -- knows his propensity for kicking other players whenever possible, I mean. Perhaps it was just Zidane's last opportunity to call out Materazzi in a public forum.
posted by shifafa at 10:57 AM on July 10, 2006

Another theroy is that Zidane said something to Materazzi, Maz replies "no calm down you liar" and said "an ugly death to you and your family" then swore at Zidane. Zidane then nutted him.

Zidane speaks Italian quite well having lived there for a couple of years. Apparently the insult is quite serious in Italian.

This is as per the BBC who hired an Italian lip reader to transcribe. Zidane has promised to talk about it in a couple of days.
posted by clarkie666 at 11:29 AM on July 10, 2006

Materazzi is not such an "anger management specialist" himself-

Yeah Materazzi has been a dick on several occasions too, but that's totally beside the point here.

Even imagining the worst ever possible thing Materazzi could have said to Zidane, Zidane responded with a headbutt. Come on. It doesn't take a genius to know which is deserving of a red card.

A headbutt done purposefully, outside of play, with no ball being involved. Such a dumb foul.

Words do not count as foul, except when directed at the refs - exactly what matteo said.

(And the variety of 'something about his mum/sister/wife/children' speculations as well as the speculations of a racist slur - someone should do a mashup with that Radiohead video, "tell us! by God tell us!". I guess it's just the obvious curiosity of being driven nuts by not being able to hear or lip read what is said, that we'd rather come up with anything than accept we'll never know.)

If it'd been the other way round, with Materazzi headbutting Zidane, there'd be no one even trying to excuse it by speculating on what was said, because Zidane is the giant and the star and Materazzi is a nobody by comparison - and that is exactly what makes the incident so senseless.

An international star, much loved in Italy too, and downright worshipped by Juventus fans where he played 5 years helping them win a championship and a European cup, respected and feared by all other footballers, in his last game of his career, and a World Cup final to boot. What a stupid thing to go out like that!

And yeah, it was the Guardian that started that silly 'nipple tweaking' rumour and then spread that 'terrorist' rumour apparently originating from that French paper - hardly an unsuspicious source - knowing full well that there'll be no way to get the facts straight anyway, since the only people who know for sure are Zidane and Materazzi, the least unsuspicious sources here, and they're not even talking.

In Zidane's previous red card in a World Cup, in 1998, there was similar speculation he'd been provoked by racist insults from his opponent before he trampled on him. A Saudi player.

In tense games, sometimes players taunt each other, and sometimes, someone spectacuarly loses the plot. Simple as that. Even Golden Balls are human.

Cannava'!!!! ma quanto si' bello co a' coppa in mano!!
posted by funambulist at 11:47 AM on July 10, 2006

Did anyone else notice that when Zidane hurt his shoulder -- he asked for a sub?

Yeah, everyone remarked on that - Zidane was hurt and tired and wanted out. That must have weighed more than any words in triggering the wildly disproportionate reaction.

C'est la vie... salut, Zizou! but thanks for the great memories.
posted by funambulist at 11:55 AM on July 10, 2006

erm, au revoir, rather...
posted by funambulist at 11:55 AM on July 10, 2006

Zidane loses his head.
posted by donpedro at 2:21 PM on July 10, 2006

Words do not count as foul...

They can actually. Referees who overhear racial insults are obliged to issue a red card.
posted by Prince Nez at 10:04 PM on July 10, 2006

"It is absolutely not true, I did not call him a terrorist. I'm ignorant. I don't even know what the word means," said Materazzi. Which should please Geoffrey Pullum.
posted by flashboy at 12:28 AM on July 11, 2006

Prince Nez: yes, that's true but from 'words' to 'racial insults' there's a certain stepping up in animosity, and referees can and have booked players for getting into non-physical fights or disrespectful behaviour anyway, even when it has nothing to do with racism. (For instance, when Totti was red carded for spitting in the previous World Cup - funny how no one wondered if and how he'd been provoked).

And indeed, it has to be heard by the referee, you can't issue a red card post-match when there's no way to ascertain what was said.

Besides, the 'racial insults' is a only an assumption here. But Zidane's agent has promised the truth will be revealed in a few days.
posted by funambulist at 1:55 AM on July 11, 2006

But Zidane's agent has promised the truth will be revealed in a few days.

Why wait for the truth when you can have a flurry of speculation from the British Press?

The Mail and The Times, or rather their lipreader(s)?, seem to agree:
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...
The Guardian and the BBC are not so sure:
The BBC's Ten O'Clock News also called in experts to study the television footage of the incident and determined the following:

Materazzi's first word to Zidane was "no" before he then told him to "calm down".

He then accused him of being a "liar" and wished "an ugly death to you and your family" on the day the Frenchman's mother had been taken to hospital ill. This was followed by "Go f*** yourself".
Both the Telegraph and the Times have long think-pieces on Zidane and the Human Condition in which we learn ...
That headbutt was not a rational act. Nor did it represent a mere ... flash of violent temper ... it was an act of cosmic discontent. It was a futile gesture of protest against the cruelties of sport and the far greater cruelties of time.
Gosh. Anyhow soon we will know for sure.
posted by grahamwell at 5:14 AM on July 11, 2006

"it was an act of cosmic discontent"

LOL, oh dear. They've all gone mad.

Why wait for the truth

eh, but that's the point, grahamwell, we'll never get 'the' truth on this, least of all from Zidane's agent!

In the end, though, bless him, he's just doing his job - which includes keeping Zidane's image as untainted and heroic as possible for that nice fat contract with Adidas that expires in 2017.
posted by funambulist at 6:37 AM on July 11, 2006

Zidane has spoken, on French TV. Materazzi insulted mother and sister
"He (Materazzi) pronounced very tough words about my mother and my sister. I tried not to listen to him but he kept repeating them," Zidane said in a live interview... Zidane denied Materazzi called him an Islamic "terrorist," as was reported by a Paris-based anti-racism group.
posted by MetaMonkey at 4:38 PM on July 12, 2006

Journalists still selected Zidane for the Golden Ball award, and Materazzi disagreed with FIFA president Sepp Blatter's suggestion that the 34-year-old Zidane could be stripped of the title. "He won it for what he did on the pitch," Materazzi said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport published Thursday. "He was the best."

Materazzi acknowledged he insulted Zidane, who he called his "hero," without giving specifics.

"I didn't say anything to him about racism, religion or politics," Materazzi said. "I didn't talk about his mother, either.
I lost my mother when I was 15 and even now I still get emotional talking about her."
posted by matteo at 2:56 AM on July 14, 2006

Journalists still selected Zidane for the Golden Ball award, and Materazzi disagreed with FIFA president Sepp Blatter's suggestion that the 34-year-old Zidane could be stripped of the title. "He won it for what he did on the pitch," Materazzi said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport published Thursday. "He was the best."
That's a surprisingly decent thing to say. After seeing reels like the one prince nez posted I gather Materazzi had it coming (but Zidane should have kept his cool etc., etc.). Given that we'll never know the objective truth it's at least a little cathartic to find Materazzi expressing respect for Zidane. I suppose it's easier to do so after taking the cup.
posted by Songdog at 6:25 AM on July 14, 2006

« Older What's this red cross ring?   |   Music History Lessons Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.