Zidane's career dotted by headbutting incidents
The World Cup is over, and the champions are happy. But no one has been the subject of as much post-match talk as French football star Zinedine Zidane. The headbutt he aimed at Italian Marco Materazzi's chest shocked everyone watching. And now everyone is asking this question: "How is it that a football player like Zidane could do such a thing?"
Since no explanations have been made, by either Zidane or Materazzi, no one knows the real reason for the headbutt. And thus, the wheels and cogs of gossip have begun to revolve. Some say Materazzi swore at Zidane's mother, while others assert the Italian player called Zidane a "terrorist," invoking the French captain's Algerian origins. Whatever the reason, Zidane reacted. But looking back over his shining football career, it is actually clear that Zidane has been far from an angel himself on the fields. Though he is generally calm, Zidane does react to opposing teams' actions, and he has been thrown out of games a total of 14 times throughout his career.
Zidane received his first red card when he was playing for a Cannes team; he punched opposing team player Desailly at that time, in September 1993, and was ejected from the match. During the 1998 World Cup, in a match against Saudi Arabia, he stomped on a player who was lying on the field, and received not only a red card, but a two game suspension. And in a move which was almost exactly the same as the one which earned him his latest red card, Zidane headbutted German player Jochen Kientz in a Hamburg match in October 2000. His headbutt against Kientz hit the player in the chin however, and in addition to being ejected from the game, Zidane was suspended from 5 matches by football's UEFA authority. Some say that particular act of anger was also responsible for the French Football magazine deciding not to award him the Golden Ball award. In fact, thousands of Juventus (Zidane's team) fans wrote into their club's web site after Zidane's headbutt in 2000, saying "We do not want this kind of cruel football." Zidane's penultimate red card before the one that ended the 2006 World Cup match came in May 2003, in a match against Madrid's Villreal team.
Though it has not been in any way confirmed, two lip-reading experts working for Brazil's Globo television station assert that the Italian Materazzi twice called Zidane's younger sister a whore right before being headbutted by Zidane. But until at least one of the two men involved in the incident makes some sort of statement to the public, the event will remain cloaked in mystery.