Monday, July 10, 2006

How to ruin a legacy.......

Millions upon millions of people around the world, both young and old, were treated to a "How to...." clinic this week in shocking fashion. France "poster boy" Zinedine Zidane taught the world "How to" destroy a legacy, "How to" ruin an image, and "How not to" show good sportsmanship. Zidane came out of retirement for this year's World Cup to help France overcome its youth and slight disarray and showed the world that at age 34 he still had what it takes to be a dominant player on the grandest stage. I heard numerous announcers speak in the highest regards of Zidane throughout the tournament, placing his name alongside some of the greatest of all-time.....Pelé.....Maradona......He and Renaldo (Brazil) are considered two of the best in the modern era. Renaldo overcame criticism for his weight and became the most prolific World Cup scorer of all-time. Zidane overcame the criticism that he was too old by leading his team to the World Cup final and then he ruined the storybook ending with a disgraceful act that he will be remembered for above all of his accomplishments.

In the second half of the overtime, Zidane and Italian defender Marco Materazzi found themselves in an interesting and unsuspecting situation. Materazzi had grabbed a handful of Zidane's jersey just as a French attack on goal passed harmlessly by. The two exchanged words as they walked back up the field, well behind the play. Then, without warning, Zidane spun around, lowered his head and rammed Materazzi, knocking him to the ground. Wild claims are being made in regard to what Materazzi may have said, but what is true or false is only conjecture at this point as Zidane's agent, Alain Migliaccio, was quoted by the BBC as saying the France captain told him the Italian "said something very serious to him, but he wouldn't tell me what."

No matter what may or may not have been said, it goes without saying that a star, leader, or role model (all of the above fit here) all should know to be the "bigger man" and not ever react in the manner in which he did. That was one of the single most disgraceful and disturbing acts I have ever witnessed in any sport. Many were disgusted with Wayne Rooney's (England) stomping of a Porturguese player in their match, but at least his action was potentially an accident. Zidane's was blatant and can not under any circumstances be justified.

The only thing that may have been more of a disgrace then this heinous act is the fact the Zidane was awarded with the Golden Ball for the MVP of the World Cup. Voting for this award takes place after the final match and despite Zidane's stellar play throughout the World Cup, he should not have garnered a single vote once his head slammed into Materazzi's chest. A number of players were as deserving of the award on skill alone (Cannavaro, Buffon, Pirlo, Ribery, Henry), but one thing set them apart from Zidane and it was not a charateristic that should have won the award for him.

Maybe Zidane is the one who needs a "How to" sportsmanship.


Blogger Jeff D said...

Voting on the Golden Ball happens at halftime of the final, not after the game

10:20 AM  

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