Could it have had a more beautiful Ending.
Don't Think So.
Zinedine Zidane (just read out that name loud) announced his retirement of all football earlier this year. The last three years, have been painful, both for himself and for all of his fans. I admit this is one of the few Real Madrid players I really like.
I also admit I he is one of the very few footballers who is attractive, call it sexy if you want, but not only that, he has a mysterious aura that few footballers have. There seems to be a lot brooding there, we know very little about his personality. He is one of the few footballers, to grow more beautiful by age. This is something a lot of my female friends have said, he seems just to have something, or that something special.
The bald patch on his head only added to this aura, he became almost monk like, with his graceful Sienna steps on the pitch. A mixture of a Sienna/Cat and a Ballet dancer. It is rarely seen that someone that big, can be so elegant.
Last year, he was very close to quit from football altogether, becoming increasingly frustrated with "Gálactico Life", he complained that there was NO sense of a team spirit, that there was no Pride in wearing the famous white Real Madrid shirt, he was depressed and disillusioned and it did not really get any better. For each month, his end was more painful, there was no joy and there seemed almost a longing for death. The moment he would retire.
Along came the World Cup and suddenly football made sense. The team (France) was built around him and made to make him feel good. As a 24 year old it was not easy to have to do multi-plus tasks on the pitch, where he was expected to be an all round player, rather than the classical number TEN. He was drained mentally and physcially when he arrived, but with hard work and some common sense, he discovered the joy of football again. No one expected France to do particularly well and it was almost meant as a human goodbye to the French captain. Suddenly it just clicked, in the game against Spain, France became good and the belief was recuperated. By each match it was cried out - This Could be Zidane's last game as a professional footballer. Each game was being scrupulously inspected as his last moment and suddenly they were there in the final.
In the semi final when it became clear they had a good chance to receive the final, one had the sense that history had been written around and about him. It was obvious that France were going to win the World Cup. It was obvious that he was going to bow out of the game with the magical cup in his hands. It was obvious he would have a decent end. the story was all there, finished and heart moving. We all recalled that he was one of the true great 5 players. He was such a good man off the pitch and on the pitch. After all he was a symbol for a great generation of players. He was the Captain of the Multi racial France. He was the King from the outskirts of Marseille.
The Final started just as planned, a penalty given to France and taken by Zidane in a beautiful style of Panenka. It was an outrageously brave penalty, placed beautifully, with such precision, with such a heart.
However nothing became as planned. Zidane rammed into Marco Materazzi as a bullfighter. Their words were first seen as moving, almost joking, where the Italian player pinched Zizou's nipple in an act of almost gayness. Then came those words that no one knows what they were.
At first I found it profoundly sad that Zidane had gone out in such a manner, it was such a strange way to end his career. France lost the game on penalties in the end and while his team mates were collecting the silver medal, Zidane had to sit on his own in the dressing room, thinking of his act.
The very next day I found the ending to his career, very moving and I realised I had become obsessed with it. His final games, had become a monster difficult to handle. Everything was clear cut in that he would hold the cup in his hands into the difficult surroundings of Paris and other suburbs. He would end like an hero, remembered for winning two world Cups. Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Franco-German politician, summed it all up - "It was like watching the last moments of a Greek tragedy, in which the hero is revealed as human, in all his greatness and flaws." (from the Independent).
His ending had become perverse, it was perversely perfect. It made him much more human. The pressure of it all becoming to sweet and good, got to him, it was obvious (in after-hand) that it would be impossible to handle for any human being and thereof the crossover of cables.
I have no doubt that he bows out even with greater respect because of the incident. He proved to be human and not a monster created by the surrounding world.