Even for a relative football newbie, watching Zinedine Zidane was one of the highlights of this World Cup. Others have described his ball-handling skills far better than I ever could. I was fascinated by his on-field presence. His thin lips, hooded eyes, and guarded expression spoke of intelligence and dedication, and his every movement radiated pure, molten concentration.
A friend recently wrote this email encomium to Zizou to several people, which I’ll now share with the world:
You made us believe in magic – and no third-rate provocatore will make us forget that.
No matter who got that trophy – you are, and always will be, the winner.
Other people know how to kick the ball. You made it dance.
Yes, the head-butt of Materazzi was uncalled-for, but, as a man who has smashed several expensive tennis rackets to flinders, while screaming obscenities at the top of my lungs, in the presence of children, I understand what adrenaline and competition can do. You can relive the genius’ unfortunate lapse in judgment here, if you must. [Hat tip for everything — SK].
Apologies for the light blogging recently. The semester is coming to an end here in Germany, and that always means a blizzard of last-minute details to take care of. But I haven’t run out of ideas. In the near future we’ll have some very special German words of the week, and some ultra-special German tax jurisprudence. Stay tuned!
UPDATE — According to the Bild tabloid, always a reliable source, Materazzi called Zidane the "son of a terrorist whore." Zidane’s mother Malika: "If he said that, then you should cut his balls off and serve them to me on a plate!" [Bild, 13 July 2006, page 17!]