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dextrous

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Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« on: July 11, 2006, 02:14:20 AM »

Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
MASSIMO MARZOCCHI
 
"IT'S hard to explain but I have a need to play intensely every day, to fight every match hard. This desire never to stop fighting is something I learnt in the place where I grew up. And, for me, the most important thing is that I still know who I am. Every day I think about where I come from and I am still proud to be who I am: first, a Kabyle from La Castellane, then an Algerian from Marseille, and then a Frenchman."

So spoke Zinedine Zidane in a revealing interview two years ago. To Zidane, a game of football is an opportunity to practise his art, but it is also a struggle with his opponents and his inner demons.

Anyone who has followed Zidane's career over the last decade will be aware that this most graceful of players still harbours the survival instincts of the boy from the streets of La Castellane, the toughest 'quartier' of Marseille, the toughest city in France.

That may help explain why the greatest footballer of his era has erred so badly on several occasions, and of course did so again on Sunday night in his last game as a professional on the biggest stage of all, the World Cup final.

It was not even the first World Cup where his street-fighter instincts had spilled over. In France '98 he was sent off and banned for two matches for stamping on Faoud Amin of Saudi Arabia.

Two years later he head-butted Hamburg's Jochen Kientz while playing in the Champions League for Juventus and was banned for five games. In total, he has been sent off 14 times in his career.

Perhaps Italy's Marco Materazzi remembered these incidents and pushed the right buttons to send this man, who usually appears such a sensitive soul, over the edge.

Those who know Zidane believe there are two parts of Zidane's life that he defends fiercely: first of all his family, and then his race and background.

Zidane's family are Berbers, originally from the Kabylie region of Algeria, a group distinct from Arabs. In a country like France where racial tensions are so wound up that National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen can openly criticise the national team for having "two many players of colour", the midfielder deserves praise for his bold stand against racism.

Yet Zidane and his team-mates should all be symbols of the success of a modern France. For someone who never fulfilled his boyhood dream to play for his hometown club Marseille, what he has achieved since then is remarkable. He was turned down by Marseille despite his fervent desire to play at the Stade Velodrome - he even named first son Enzo after his playing favourite, Marseille's Uruguayan playmaker Enzo Francescoli. Instead it was in Cannes, the Mediterranean film festival town, that the man known as "Zizou" to fans and team-mates and "Yazid" to close family and friends started out after being spotted by local scout Jean Varraud who died at the age of 85 during this World Cup.

At Cannes, his reaction to fans who shouted racial insults at him caused his coaches severe concerns. Born in a large family in a Marseille suburb to Algerian immigrants, he was - and still is - fiercely protective of his extended family, as well as his wife and children, doing everything possible to keep them out of the limelight.

But despite worries over his temperament, he made quick progress at Cannes and was transferred to Bordeaux, after which a series of events then combined to propel him towards the French national team. France's failure to qualify for the 1994 World Cup saw Aime Jacquet replace Gerard Houllier as coach.

Zidane was starring for Bordeaux with fellow future World Cup winners Bixente Lizarazu and Christophe Dugarry, the latter remains his best footballing friend, when skipper Eric Cantona earned a nine-month ban for attacking a Crystal Palace fan.

Zidane had already made his France debut with two goals as a substitute in a 2-2 draw with the Czech Republic but it was during the ban that Jacquet decided to dispense with the services of Cantona and David Ginola.

Instead he decided to build his team around Zidane and Youri Djorkaeff. Zidane's first tournament, Euro 1996, saw France exit on penalties in a semi-final to the Czech Republic. He moved on to Juventus, and it was in the summer of 1998 that his career and life were transformed by one match.

His World Cup started badly. A sending-off for a stamping offence saw him banned for two matches and he returned for the quarter-final with Italy, won on penalties after a goalless draw. Zidane was again muted when France beat Croatia 2-1 in the semi-final with two Lilian Thuram goals. In the final Zidane delivered with two headed goals in the 3-0 win over Brazil - a victory celebrated by two million French people on the Champs Elysees the day after.

Zidane's life was now transformed but the shy midfielder admitted that he found his new status hard to handle. The media attention circled around his family - he and Spanish wife Veronica have four sons - while he found himself being asked to comment on politically and religiously sensitive issues, as a Muslim who lives outwardly a westernised lifestyle.

Zidane was outstanding in Euro 2000 as France won the title but allowed Marcel Desailly to succeed retiring captain Didier Deschamps because he does not like speaking to the media.

"Speaking is an ordeal for me," said Zidane. He was ruled out of the first two games through injury as France failed to defend their world title by being eliminated in the first round in 2002 - the year his volley at Hampden Park won the Champions League for Real Madrid whom he had joined for a world record fee.

Some weeks after Euro 2004, where France lost to eventual winners Greece in the quarter-finals, he quit international football. But last year, with France's qualification campaign in trouble, he was lured back and despite a difficult group phase he started to roll back the years as the competition entered the knockout stages.

His match-clinching goal in the 3-1 last 16 win over Spain and his man-of-the-match display in the 1-0 win over Brazil in the quarter-finals took Les Bleus into the last four where Zidane's penalty settled the match with Portugal. The world awaited a glorious send-off in the final. No-one would have guessed that his famous temper would return at the worst possible moment.

Who knows what Materazzi said to re-awaken the dark demons in the depths of Zidane's soul. But one can hazard a guess that Materazzi would care little about his own actions if the expulsion of Zidane was the reward.

It is too easy to decry Zidane's action in Berlin's Olympic Stadium as shameful and a disgrace.

Of course it was, but it is more complicated than that. Zidane is not a player who spends the whole match snarling, snapping and swearing, getting his blood up to improve his game. Zidane was the most silent of players, all intensity and intent. That his why his assault on Materazzi, and before him Kientz, was all the more shocking.

As he begins a retirement which will be split between a new home in the Alps and another in Madrid, Zidane will now find that there is no escape from the spotlight he has always been so anxious to avoid. Everywhere he goes, he will be the flawed genius who stunned the world that night in Berlin.

FIFA denies video replay influenced red card
FIFA yesterday denied claims that video evidence was used to send off Zinedine Zidane in the World Cup final.

Both coaches, Italy's Marcello Lippi and France's Raymond Domenech, suggested after the match that the fourth official had only advised the referee to dismiss Zidane after watching a television replay of the France captain's blatant head-butt on Marco Materazzi. The incident was missed by Argentine referee Horacio Elizondo and his two assistants, but was brought to his attention by the fourth official, Spain's Luis Medina Cantalejo.

FIFA refuses to allow video evidence to influence refereeing decisions and insisted that its rules were adhered to in Berlin on Sunday. "The fourth referee saw the incident with his own eyes and told the referee and the assistant referee directly though their headsets," said FIFA spokesman Andreas Herren.

The game's governing body says the fourth official has no access to video replays and that although the fifth official - newly introduced for the 2006 World Cup - does have a TV monitor, he is not permitted to intervene. Although replays of Zidane's head-butt were not shown to fans on the big screen, they were witnessed on the hundreds of televisions in the Olympiastadion's media seats - and by millions around the globe watching on TV at home.

FIFA Sepp Blatter president believes that human error is part of the game, and opposes the use of technology to assist officials until it is proved to be "100 per cent reliable."

PHIL JOHNSON

Tears in Algeria
THE French were not the only ones to taste the bitterness of defeat following Sunday night's World Cup final.

In the Kabylie mountains of Algeria, relatives of French captain Zinedine Zidane gathered with others in his home village of Aguemoune to watch the game, little knowing of the agony to come.

Despite being born in France, Zidane is a national hero in Algeria. His parents left for France shortly before Algeria's brutal war of independence broke out in 1954, moving to a tough neighbourhood outside Marseilles. The France captain often returned to Aguemoune as a child during summer holidays and many say it is thanks to Zidane that fans there cheer on the country that ruled Algeria for 132 years and fought eight years to suppress its independence movement.

Zidane's red card late on in the defeat to Italy reduced many of Aguemoune's residents to tears. Zidane's brother Djamel, visiting on holiday from France, said: "Yes, Zinedine will come back to visit his family, his village and friends.

"I feel sad but it's good for him to stop playing football and take a rest."

Rabah Zidane, a cousin, hoped Zizou will "find enough time to come and visit his family" and said the player's actions were out of character. "Because of him we love France," said Rabah. "Zizou normally does not hit people. Materazzi must have said something serious."

The cousin said the family was pleased Zidane had been voted the tournament's best player yesterday, adding: "That gives us some relief."

Fans went silent inside 'Cafe Zizou' when Zidane was sent off. But they said the player's legacy as one of football's greats was assured. "Zizou will stay in my heart until the end," said 19-year-old supporter Fares Tadgenant.
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toney

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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2006, 04:20:23 AM »

Interesting that Zidane is a Berber. Berbers are persecuted/suppressed by the Algerian authorities and dont have any rights. I personally wish the world would take notice of the unjust treatment they get. But then, Berber-land has no oil.

Regarding the article: it is easy to be sympathetic to Zidane but it is when men respond to their responsibilities by coping with everything the opposition doles out that they become heroes. Whatever Materazzi said, Zidane let his team and country (and the Berbers ??) down. Sad that he may be remembered for this final act of foolishness than for all the joy he brought to football fans. I still nurse a grudge for his two goals in 98 and the freekick this year but I could never help admire the man. Now, there's just that bit of sadness that he isnt the hero I wanted him to be.
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dextrous

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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2006, 12:50:14 PM »

Interesting that Zidane is a Berber. Berbers are persecuted/suppressed by the Algerian authorities and dont have any rights. I personally wish the world would take notice of the unjust treatment they get. But then, Berber-land has no oil.

Regarding the article: it is easy to be sympathetic to Zidane but it is when men respond to their responsibilities by coping with everything the opposition doles out that they become heroes. Whatever Materazzi said, Zidane let his team and country (and the Berbers ??) down. Sad that he may be remembered for this final act of foolishness than for all the joy he brought to football fans. I still nurse a grudge for his two goals in 98 and the freekick this year but I could never help admire the man. Now, there's just that bit of sadness that he isnt the hero I wanted him to be.

He isn't a hero because, most likely, he couldn't take more racial abuse? Hah! He's good enough for me.
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achutank

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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2006, 12:59:56 PM »

i agree dex.

i choose to call this zizou's last stand against racism on the football pitch.
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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2006, 01:49:23 PM »

i agree dex.

i choose to call this zizou's last stand against racism on the football pitch.

note: alleged racism
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indian

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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2006, 05:50:39 PM »

Interesting that Zidane is a Berber. Berbers are persecuted/suppressed by the Algerian authorities and dont have any rights. I personally wish the world would take notice of the unjust treatment they get. But then, Berber-land has no oil.

Regarding the article: it is easy to be sympathetic to Zidane but it is when men respond to their responsibilities by coping with everything the opposition doles out that they become heroes. Whatever Materazzi said, Zidane let his team and country (and the Berbers ??) down. Sad that he may be remembered for this final act of foolishness than for all the joy he brought to football fans. I still nurse a grudge for his two goals in 98 and the freekick this year but I could never help admire the man. Now, there's just that bit of sadness that he isnt the hero I wanted him to be.

He isn't a hero because, most likely, he couldn't take more racial abuse? Hah! He's good enough for me.
Yeah right Dex. You know how many people put up with some form of abuse at the work place just because their family totally depends on their income. That is what responsibilty asks of you. They are heroes in my eyes. France was dependant on Zidane ,  he could have sucked it up, won the game or even lost it but with dignity, and then made a case for this. There are lot of ways to fight, this is not how a hero does.
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indian

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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2006, 05:55:11 PM »

btw, I wanted France to win just for Zidane.  I am a fan, despite his faults.
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OldPal

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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2006, 06:15:35 PM »

Remember  AALU with his bat up towards spectators - Provocation.
All the sledging that happens in say cricket ?
Zidnae had what 12 red cards before the last one.
The  fact of the matter is: taking all this in stride is what makes a good player. I dont think he was thinking about France or final game after he heard the insult. Only thing in his mind was what  Materazzi told him. We all know this was unfortunate, but this being WC final didn't make any impact on Zidane.
Incase I am not clear in the side I am taking. I dont condone Zidnae's action. Mostly agree with few of the writeups.

Read on -

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/world_cup_2006/5168622.stm


"While the Italian defender was laying splayed out following Zidane's shocking assault, he knew his wind-up tactics had worked a treat. "

"Whatever Marco Materazzi said to warrant Zinedine Zidane's head-butt and dismissal in the World Cup final, his deliberate incitement certainly had the desired result"

"In Italy, winding up an opponent is part and parcel of the game and a basic way of trying to get one up on your opposite number "



« Last Edit: July 11, 2006, 06:48:24 PM by pankaj_t »
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fineleg

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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2006, 06:17:20 PM »

Pankaj,
I dont think folks (by and large) are asking to condone Zidane's action.
Just terming Zidane 'a loser' is harsh (not saying ur terming it that way) - but that is way too harsh.
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suraj

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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2006, 06:50:40 PM »

Interesting that Zidane is a Berber. Berbers are persecuted/suppressed by the Algerian authorities and dont have any rights. I personally wish the world would take notice of the unjust treatment they get. But then, Berber-land has no oil.

Regarding the article: it is easy to be sympathetic to Zidane but it is when men respond to their responsibilities by coping with everything the opposition doles out that they become heroes. Whatever Materazzi said, Zidane let his team and country (and the Berbers ??) down. Sad that he may be remembered for this final act of foolishness than for all the joy he brought to football fans. I still nurse a grudge for his two goals in 98 and the freekick this year but I could never help admire the man. Now, there's just that bit of sadness that he isnt the hero I wanted him to be.

He isn't a hero because, most likely, he couldn't take more racial abuse? Hah! He's good enough for me.
Yeah right Dex. You know how many people put up with some form of abuse at the work place just because their family totally depends on their income. That is what responsibilty asks of you. They are heroes in my eyes. France was dependant on Zidane ,  he could have sucked it up, won the game or even lost it but with dignity, and then made a case for this. There are lot of ways to fight, this is not how a hero does.

Well said Indian!!!

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Aloo Kashmiri Ul Haq

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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2006, 07:35:10 PM »

Interesting that Zidane is a Berber. Berbers are persecuted/suppressed by the Algerian authorities and dont have any rights. I personally wish the world would take notice of the unjust treatment they get. But then, Berber-land has no oil.

Regarding the article: it is easy to be sympathetic to Zidane but it is when men respond to their responsibilities by coping with everything the opposition doles out that they become heroes. Whatever Materazzi said, Zidane let his team and country (and the Berbers ??) down. Sad that he may be remembered for this final act of foolishness than for all the joy he brought to football fans. I still nurse a grudge for his two goals in 98 and the freekick this year but I could never help admire the man. Now, there's just that bit of sadness that he isnt the hero I wanted him to be.

He isn't a hero because, most likely, he couldn't take more racial abuse? Hah! He's good enough for me.
Yeah right Dex. You know how many people put up with some form of abuse at the work place just because their family totally depends on their income. That is what responsibilty asks of you. They are heroes in my eyes. France was dependant on Zidane ,  he could have sucked it up, won the game or even lost it but with dignity, and then made a case for this. There are lot of ways to fight, this is not how a hero does.

Well said Indian!!!



it was about time that it was stopped, so you think that if he had kept quiet the issue would have been brought up? if that was the case then most teams that play italy would bring up the matter with fifa. this is not a time of mahatma *hi, but bhagat singh
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Blwe_torch

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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2006, 08:38:51 AM »

at the end of all this...I feel proud for Zidane.
France lost the match alright.
But Zidane will come out a greater hero, thanks to this.
Whoever thinks, Zidane will be remembered only by his last folly is grossly mistaken.
Time will tell.
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keep-it-cool

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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2006, 09:52:46 AM »

Zidane will not be remembered only for this. But he has definitely shown a brittle side. It would be remembered as well!

I still think whatever the provocation, Zidane let France down. In my view, that is sad and not what is expected of a captain. The only thing an opposition player has to do is whisper an insult and lo ... you get sent off! I can bet that if this had not been Zidane's last match, defenders all over the world would be doing this from here on.
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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2006, 04:37:57 PM »

Zidane will not be remembered only for this. But he has definitely shown a brittle side. It would be remembered as well!

I still think whatever the provocation, Zidane let France down. In my view, that is sad and not what is expected of a captain. The only thing an opposition player has to do is whisper an insult and lo ... you get sent off! I can bet that if this had not been Zidane's last match, defenders all over the world would be doing this from here on.

Every other great player have shown their brittle side....no problems with that.
You name....and I can show he was brittle...Maradona, Pele, Beckenbauer, Best, etc.
Atleast Zidane didn't take insults to his mother and sister quietly.
Lets see if this gets included in defenders' legitimate tackle!
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achutank

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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2006, 04:53:06 PM »

we know RD has lost his head couple of times, and SG is a case study in that department. SMG has, Kapil has.

but i don't seem to recollect a single incident where SRT has got into any altercation or reaction.

please correct me before i proudly proclaim him as the most coolest sportsman ever. (even borg lost in Wimbledon'80).
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toney

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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2006, 05:57:08 PM »

we know RD has lost his head couple of times, and SG is a case study in that department. SMG has, Kapil has.

but i don't seem to recollect a single incident where SRT has got into any altercation or reaction.

please correct me before i proudly proclaim him as the most coolest sportsman ever. (even borg lost in Wimbledon'80).
I remember a 1996 match in Sharjah against Pak, SRT was what, 23 years then? Sidhu and SRT had scored centuries. In the middle of their partnership, Sidhu walked up to Sohail, bat waving menacingly in hand. Aamir backed off in a hurry.
Then, in the Pak innings, which India had controlled well in spite of a Latif blitz, SRT bowled to Saqlain, with Pak 9 down. After dismissing him, SRT shouted the loudest eff off pointing to the dressing room. SMG, in the commentary box said that after a day of taking abuses, one had to let off at some point. SRT did, at the end. Even if he did this in the middle, he wouldnt have affeccted his team's fortunes. Unless of course, he comes down the pitch, plays a rash shot and gets out.

Zidane in contrast, showed no regard for his team's fortunes. His mother and sister are important. But BLWE and Dex, at that moment, his team was more important. We dont admire Zidane for standing up for his mother. That would have made more sense in a street in Marseille, not in a WC finals, with minutes to go and the Italians physically down. We admire Zidan for being the playmaker for France, almost single handedly inspiring them to a WC finals. And what does he do? He, the team captain chooses to let his temper get the better of him. He just undid his brilliant contribution to France's WC hopes, in a second.

PS: Even if my mother is abused, in my presence, in a remote street in Marseille, I wouldnt react to it. I will just make sure that I get her out of the area, or better, never let her go to the area. Of course, Dex might opt to fight, unarmed against a few knife wielding ruffians. Brave man!! But also a foolish one.

i agree dex.
i choose to call this zizou's last stand against racism on the football pitch.
achu, Zidane did not head butt him as a protest against racism. he did that because he couldnt control his anger.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2006, 06:01:35 PM by toney »
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pieterSAN

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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2006, 07:24:08 PM »

This is not the first time the star player has let down his after a heroic performance through the tornament. Baggio in 1994 is one example - uninspired in the final against Brazil. It was sad to watch Italy lose to Brazil - I used to be a huge Baggio fan. However, he just did not do enough in that game. Ronaldo after a great torunament in 1998 was missing in action in the final.

After hearing what Zidane as to say - I agree with everything he said. Nevertheless, he made a big mistake reacting. He should not have - not for something like this. I know it is not easy when you are playing, but he should have been there for France.

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toney

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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2006, 07:32:17 PM »

pieterSAN, having a bad game like Baggio or Ronaldo is different from what Zidane did. Zidane had a choice. But sportsmen are bound to have bad days how much ever they try otherwise. Totally different!!
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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2006, 07:39:04 PM »

pieterSAN, having a bad game like Baggio or Ronaldo is different from what Zidane did. Zidane had a choice. But sportsmen are bound to have bad days how much ever they try otherwise. Totally different!!

Not really. Since we all accept that what Materazzi did is part of the game, just like we have accepted the diving et al, Zidane was suckered. The Italians played the game the normally do -  a lot of smack and a lot of shin-kicking for around 100 minutes. Materazzi basically made a fool out of him, because Zidane has played in Italy and is used to this treatment. It's nothing new.

Being mentally weak and screwing up is the same to me as being physically weak and uninspired to turn in a good performance. The bottom line is that none of these guys were able to take the challenge on these separate ocassions. It happens to the best.
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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2006, 07:50:08 PM »

pieterSAN, having a bad game like Baggio or Ronaldo is different from what Zidane did. Zidane had a choice. But sportsmen are bound to have bad days how much ever they try otherwise. Totally different!!

Not really. Since we all accept that what Materazzi did is part of the game, just like we have accepted the diving et al, Zidane was suckered. The Italians played the game the normally do -  a lot of smack and a lot of shin-kicking for around 100 minutes. Materazzi basically made a fool out of him, because Zidane has played in Italy and is used to this treatment. It's nothing new.

Being mentally weak and screwing up is the same to me as being physically weak and uninspired to turn in a good performance. The bottom line is that none of these guys were able to take the challenge on these separate ocassions. It happens to the best.

Ugly - what Materazzi did was ugly.
Zizou's mom has made a special order request - that Ugly Materazzi better stay at home and not play any more football lest Zizou's mom's request get fulfilled - I wish that fear will alter Mat's football.

Zidane was suckered and he let folks down, but real loser is and should be Materazzi.
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toney

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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2006, 08:07:24 PM »

fineleg, For Mat.. to be the loser, the French had to behave like saints. What about the first half penalty? Was there even a challenege there? What about all their gimmicks? Pot, kettle, black, black....
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pieterSAN

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Re: Zidane loses final battle with his inner demons
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2006, 08:18:18 PM »

FL - such "banter" has been part of the game at the highest level for a long time. It may be cheap and ugly but it's part of the game.

You know Vinnie Jones? The bad ass in Gone in Sixty Seconds who does not speak a word? He was also in Snatch and Lock, Stock. This guy was a professional footballer who used to mark his man by holding his balls.

Btw, it's never going to stop. That much is for sure. For every Materazzi there is C.Ronaldo or a Grosso.
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