Zinedine Zidane was regarded as one of the most gifted footballers of all time, but his career ended in dramatic and unpredictable circumstances. The French midfielder head-butted Italian defender, Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final that resulted in a red card and France losing in a penalty shootout without their influential talisman. The big question that still remains unanswered is; Why did Zidane lose his cool in the 2006 World Cup Final?
It has been made very public that Materazzi had directed childish insults aimed at Zidane’s mother or sister (still inconclusive) and as a result Zidane completely flipped out and retaliated instantly. However, a player with the calibre of Zinedine surely has experienced this sort of abuse before and has learnt over the years to deal with it? This wasn’t a player at the start of his career or an amateur rising up the ranks. This was one of the world’s best players, a World Cup winner in 1998 who was playing in his final match before retirement. This was a respected footballing figure who was captain of his country.
Essentially we’re all different. We all react to abuse in different ways, some have the mental strength to just block them out and laugh it off, others for instance don’t let it go and dish some back with different levels of severity. Taunts are very common in all levels of football especially towards the more talented players as if it can provoke anger out of them then it’s a good chance this will affect their team or their own performance in a negative way.
He was brought up in rough neighbourhood in Marseille and maybe this tough upbringing has made him particularly sensitive about his background. The area in Marseille he lived on was known for its unemployment and high crime rates. He was the youngest of five children brought up by immigrant parents in a poor area. He has been sent off several times in his career before but his petulance became apparent more to the end of his career than his younger days.
He was sent off for France before after a cynical stamp on a Saudi Arabian player which was boiled down to frustration as he was having one of his poorer games. He was also sent off for Juventus twice which involved a crude stamp on a player and another involved head butting a player, so it’s clear from his past that he has anexplosive side which can see him lose control from time to time.
Such an act of violence from such a gifted individual was not expected in such a high profile game with billions of spectators watching around the world. Youngsters who inspired to be like Zidane were left astonished at the way Materazzi hit the floor and the incident left a massive stain on such a glamorous career with Juventus and Real Madrid. You can only sense that had Zidane remained on the field and helped France to their second ever World Cup, he would have been classed as the greatest ever modern player (until Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were established at least).
Do you still think Zidane is one of the best of all time?
Would France have won the World Cup if Zizou was still on the pitch? Is he in the same class as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi? Let us know what you think in the comments section below for your chance to win a $50 Premier Sports Memorabilia gift voucher.