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Zinedine Zidane's Remarkable Quote Suggests He May Have Forgotten His Playing Career

Zinedine Zidane's Remarkable Quote Suggests He May Have Forgotten His Playing Career
By Conor Neville Updated

Before we get to it, let's talk some French philosophy. When Zinedine Zidane arrowed his bald pate into Marco Materazzi's chest in extra-time in the 2006 final, he fired the starter pistol on a week-long festival of cod-psychology, armchair philosophising and careful lip-reading.

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It had several positive effects, and not just for the Italians. For instance, never before has been such a heightened global awareness and appreciation of Algeria's long struggle for independence as in that week.

In the aftermath, many theories were advanced to explain Zidane's combustion.

The lip readers reported that Materazzi had, unsurprisingly, insulted Zizou's mother and sister. It was speculated that he had called Zidane the son of a 'terrorist whore', a theory which, according to John Foot, the friends of Materazzi found hard to believe, considering his less than extensive knowledge of the history of French-Algerian relations.

Materazzi later wrote that his own comment was a retort to Zidane. Marco had a fistful of jersey at a free kick and Zidane told him he could have jersey after the game. Materazzi replied that he would prefer his sister.

In the context of a football match, such remarks are hardly unheard of, yet this appeared to enrage Zidane and he duly reacted.


However, this a more intriguing theory for Zidane's headbutt, proffered by French professional philosopher and poseur Bernard Henri-Levy and promoted in this country by John Waters.

Zidane had committed the 'suicide of a demi-god'. So deified had he been in the days since the Brazilian performance, that he feared he would be unable to survive on 'the plinth that was being prepared for him' in post-retirement.

'In a subconscious part of his brain, he decided that this was the best way for him to begin life as a former footballer'.


People were reminded of Zidane's propensity for using his head in unorthodox and unapproved ways after his extraordinary comments in his triumphant post-match press conference tonight.

He kept his cool heading into tonight's game. As he always did as a player, he said.

People were inclined to cough loudly and tap the great man on the shoulder and remind him of the many instances where his head was lost on a football pitch.

He had been sent off 14 times in his playing career. Even prior to Materazzi, Zidane was no slouch in the headbutt department.



Even the celebratory art-house film dedicated to showcasing his brilliance and turning him into a poetic genius, the 2006 picture, 'Zidane: 21st Century Portrait' ended with him embroiling himself in a brawl and getting sent off.

Read more: A Week In The Incredibly Cushy Retired Life Of Alex Ferguson

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