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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The beautiful End

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.


Blogger Yrsa Roca Fannberg said...

It is far from being perfect, but I wanted to publish it before his press conference. So bear with me. I might try to polish it tomorrow.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous fais attention là! said...


and not Palenka

9:11 PM  
Blogger santifernandez said...

Coincido plenamente contigo en tu defensa a Zidane, aunque creo que estás un poco influenciada, como tus amigas, por su atractivo físico que hace que tu admiración como futbolista sea mayor, (yo no tengo esa influencia) pero si coincido contigo en la elegancia, la mirada y ese aura mística que destaca por encima de la vulgaridad de la mayoría de los jugadores. Como futbolista ha sido excepcional (es el único jugador del Real Madrid que he admirado profundamente siendo culé)y su comportamiento en ruedas de prensa y fuera del terreno de juego también lo han distinguido por encima de la mayoria de jugadores. En este Mundial, nadie ha tratado el balón como él. Sobre el cabezazo, (yo si escribo despues de su rueda de prensa)es también típico de Zidane y su reación no es impulsiva,ni perdió los nervios, como demuestra su declaración: "pido perdón pero no me arrepiento". Y es que Zidane es una persona de convicciones, él piensa: "si pasa esto tengo que hacer esto", me explico: entre tu y yo, si alguien insulta a mi mujer yo también reacciono así, esté donde esté, y me cueste lo que me cueste. Por eso entiendo a Zidane. ÉL es un hombre de principios. Como futbolista dió una lección mientras estuvo en el campo, como hombre (o marido), también. Mazzeratti no.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Yrsa Roca Fannberg said...

Sorry fais attention lá.
I will change it RIGHT Now. How silly of me.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Yrsa Roca Fannberg said...

One more thing, it is obvious Zidane did not want to hurt M M. as he headed him in the chest, rather than the in the head.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Yrsa Roca Fannberg said...


quizas me llevo por mi sangre mujeriana.
o raza femenina. Estoy exagerando, pero lo veo como algo muy simbolico y me gusta el simbolismo. Sport without these extra touches is nothing. But he is special and I think his press conference was even special. Nothing said, dressed in military clothes.
I liked your words. Thanks.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Edwin said...

Of course he wanted to hurt MM, butting in the chest wouldn't draw blood - he wanted to get away with it.

MM quoted Zidane as saying:

"If you want my shirt then you can have it after the game".

For me this is ultimate class, a put down that only legends can use without sounding deluded. What gravitas!

9:55 PM  
Blogger Juan Carlos said...

Great post, Yrsa.
Zidane was wrong heading Materazzi, but his mistake was much worse losing a fantastic opportunity to rectify in his last interview on TV.
It was a pity.
Fantastic player, but he looks like if something doesn't works well in his brain sometimes.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Yrsa Roca Fannberg said...

I am not sure I agree with you. I think it was more a statement than anything. I agree with your quote. Arrogant, but stylish.
@Juan Carlos
Thanks. However I am not sure I agree with you, I do think Zidane is not too dumb, or perhaps it is the classic where silent people appear more intelligent.
However he has an anger problem.

12:12 PM  
Blogger dfons said...

I agree with Edwin. I do really believe he wanted to hurt Materazzi. In any case that is not the point as he did something that he shouldn´t have done. I think it´s a very very sad way of ending his career.
On the other hand, I kinda of agree with those who say that being cules, Zidane is the only player they have admired. I don´t think I can´t admire any Madrid players but when we beat them 3-0 at the Bernabeu, he was the only player I felt pity for. There is when everyone say that his career had ended.
Take care

4:29 PM  
Blogger Csai D. said...

A very enjoyable article.

However, I find two black spots in Zidane's ending. The first one, how he used his club to prepare for the World Cup, soemthing that I would have never expected from a guy like him. Second, the head-butt, although I become less interested in the latter.

I am curious, though. Who is the other Madrid players that you like?

5:50 PM  
Blogger Yrsa Roca Fannberg said...

@ Csai D
But perhaps t was impossible to concentrate on the club, as it was such a depressing, anxiety filled, poisenous place to work - perhaps he needed to look forward to something.
In a perverse way - I liked the headbutt. Perfect humans are just boring. It is utopian.

Hmmm, not sure of any other Madrid players I like - perhaps I don't mind Casillas.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Juan Carlos said...

Escríbeme un mail a y te envío el PDF de la entrevista de Txiki Begiristain en El Periódico del pasado domingo.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous antoine said...

Not only for the violence of the act, but Zidane's act proved traumatic because he tore the curtain down. It was a very unique moment. The stage, the drama, the hero were perfect. Only one hardly ever sees the leading actor punching a co-actor on stage in the midst of a play, because the lame co-actor said his line wrong. This is what happened, when Zidane headbutted Matterazzi. It was a game, with footballers chasing the ball stupidely, the stake, the rules, the chants, the sweat, the slow motion moves, a mockup war, national pride and the zooming of the pretty women in the crowd. Zidane took it all down in one action. He tore it up in half a second. Not only did he prove he was not a superstar, but he took us with him back to miserable lane. Grotesque for grandiose or grandiose for grostesque.

3:28 AM  
Blogger Yrsa Roca Fannberg said...

Zidane is now a martyr.

I can hear your saddened soul.
I wish you my consilations.

9:41 AM  

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