Monday, 10 July 2006


I don’t know what was sadder for me: Zidane’s Moment of Madness or France losing the World Cup after having, for the most part, outplayed Italy.

Undoubtedly, Zidane was provoked. It has been said that this does not make his behaviour excusable. But I wonder: why not? How many people would put up with insults in every day life, for example, at work? Sure, some people would turn the other cheek but not everyone. And how many people will ever feel the pressure that Zidane was under during the World Cup? How much provocation is enough to take someone over the edge?

Of course, some people believe that those in the public eye should be role models – and I’m sure some try to be. But not everyone is made out to be.

In football, so often, the person goading or perpetrating the initial foul gets away with it. It is the retaliator who gets punished. However, the greater punishment should go to the perpetrator of the first misdeed.

The French say that to understand is to forgive. I don’t think we’ll ever understand Zidane - a quiet, private person who shuns the limelight. But we should forgive him because, for so many years, his genius allowed him to glide around on the football pitch and put a smile on the face of every fan of football.    


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