15 years of magic, one moment of madness and the fall from grace.
Posted by Sports Snob on July 10, 2006
Its 4 am and I cant sleep. I just witnessed a quite extraordinary world cup final which will forever be remembered as much for the penalty shootout as for a moment of lunacy from Zinedine Zidane. Hero for large parts of the game, never showing his age and kept even the famed italian defence guessing. Masterly and gutsy in the taking of a penalty. Not one player in the world would have the audacity to chip a penalty in a World Cup final. I could see the headlines. It was a script written in heaven. The penalty stemmed from the confidence in himself and also the belief that he could do no wrong. Some might use the word arrogance but then its Zidane, and he probably can deserve to be a little impudent. But that is where it ends. Being a great also gives you the burden of carrying the name and protecting your legacy, Im sorry Zizou you failed there. It was two seconds of his life that will probably flash across his mind forever. Im sure the world gasped when they saw the replay. He had issues with temper when he was at Turin. He would snap at the slightest of provocation. But surely they were in the past. This Zidane had matured and he was in his realm…..the greatest show on earth.
Im sure he regrets the incident, but no matter how grave the provocation, it was avoidable. He was up against a cunty and crappy defender in the irritant Materazi who would have been caught out several times if it werent for his better abled captain Fabio Cannavaro. but zidane took the bait that the wily italian had offered and he paid the ultimate price….. It was an ignominious way to end a career and the walk of shame compounded it. He could have found solace if Le bleu had a little more luck in the penalty shootout. But in keeping with the cruel nature of the game, it wasnt to be.
Zidane’s most avid fans would say that his incident had little bearing on the result , but until that moment of madness France had the initiative. the Italians were outplayed in the second half and most of Extra time. Until that moment, the French surely believed that destiny was on their side.
When all the prematch hype was about how the Magician from Marseille could leave a lasting impression, I never imagined it would be this way. I hope history remembers him for all the hours of jaw dropping football he had offered. The roulettes and the shimmies, the long range thunderbolts and the dipping freekicks. But history is never that kind.