Zinedine Zidane. An inglorious exit from World Football.

I couldn’t believe what I saw on the TV screen last night. France was playing Italy in the FIFA World Cup (Germany 2006) final, and after just 10 minutes or so to the end of extra time, French skipper Zinedine Zidane did the unthinkable. The world of blogs has since been buzzing with opinion.

Pradeep Nair Time and Tide of goes like: Shame, Zidane.

I was… no longer I’m… a fan of Zinedine Zidane. He started off as a footballer on the streets of Marseille. And, he ended his wonderful career in utter disgrace as a street-fighter. Instead of walking off with the Soccer World Cup, head held high, Zidane ambled away, head bowed, mid-match after being sent off by the referee.

Zidane may have his story to tell on why he violently head-butted Italian defender Marco Materazzi with just 10 minutes left in the extra-time. Materazzi may have said something very nasty to Zidane. But nothing justified what Zidane did – launching his head into the chest of the Italian, who fell back on to the ground. It was sheer madness. A man of his experience, he just couldn’t let himself fly off the handle on such an important occasion.

Buzz Patrol is not charitable with words either: Zidane loses mind, World Cup final

Zinedine Zidane soiled his legacy and lost the World Cup for France after a hardcore head-butt to an Italy defender in overtime. Italy won in a shoot-out 5-1. Boo.

Chowrangi‘s report is headlined: Unbelieveable end to Zidane’s career

It happened in a flash, just like a snap. The final of World Cup 2006 was in 109th minute with France and Italy 1-1 and the game was setting up for penalty shoot-out, when french captain Zinedine Zidane was grabbed by Materazzi. He did, or said, something to Zidane and as soon as Zidane broke free, he turned and rammed his head into Materazzi’s chest; it was really firm and nasty, sending the Azzurri crashing to the turf.

It was also completely off the ball and at first it seemed he’d got away with it, but after talking to his assistant – and possibly after an intervention from the fourth official – the referee was alerted to what happened, and sent Zidane off.

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Oluniyi D. Ajao
Oluniyi D. Ajao is an Internet Entrepreneur and Tech Enthusiast based in South Africa. Follow him on twitter @niyyie for more tech updates.


  1. The problem of racism should not be seen as superficial and merely having to do with the temperament of players on the field only. It should be seen as a more profound problem, affecting the hopes and aspirations of billions of underprivileged people around the world. It should be seen as representative of the other intractable issues that have so far not been given prominent attention, including the fact that this was another all-Europe affair in which Eurocentrism as both an ideology and reality was on display yet again, as far as the hosting of the tournament, the slots per confederation, and FIFA’s selection of the best 23 players of the tournament. While the diverse ethnic and racial makeup of the French team was one indication of how racism can begin to be overcome in the very heart of Europe itself, that observation is, for the moment, being buried under superfluous condemnations of an act that may have been the culmination of years of pent up rage, as alluded to by those more familiar with Zidane’s experiences growing up and the larger problem of racial integration in French society. This is not a perspective that can be easily understood by some ensconced in the racialized privilege and class comfort of material surfeit.

  2. I would have done the same thing, probably worst. Materazzi has a fame of being a pig in the field, Zidane did the right thing, its time for the other face of the problem to be punished, not always the agressor!!!

  3. it angers me to see how people criticize ZZ so much….he’s taken the first step to fight racism….what of u??? i do not commend what he did…sending him off and losing the world cup is just enough punishment…why add unto his woes…..

    his mother was then in the hospital and i’m sure that that had placed enough pressure on him…he initially walked away frm the italian player…you all saw it….it couldn’t have initially occured but having been insulted to this degree repeatedly was more than he could take…..he hasn’t than the worse wrong ever…leave him alone….all you critic news papers….he might not have been in the best situation but i’m sure he has his regrets…he’s apologised to the world…so leave him alone…..

    he’s never had such public embarassment….afterall many have their shame in the dark which places even more shock to the public when exposed…..he has nothing to hide……

    FIFA board should not encourage Meterazzi’s act even though he might deny it…..he shd be given the accorded punishment…..what do you know??? perhaps it was a preplanned act to get on ZZ nerves….all those against ZZ should place themselves in his shoes and realise that the blacks in the various sporting activities esp football suffer a lot in europe…..

    ZZ should still keep his trophy as the best player…he’s still my hero….

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