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Zidane, the Selfish One, Fools the World, FIFA

Zidane, the great man, has fooled everyone into siding with him, writes Paul Doyle of the Guardian. His head-butt may have been excusable, but the frank way he chose to tell the world he feels no remorse for his actions, is not, Doyle says. Perhaps the easy manner in which the world has forgiven him lulled FIFA into sentencing Zidane to what amounts to little more than a wrist slap: a three-game suspension and a fine. Indeed, he will keep the Golden Ball awarded to him as the World Cup's most valuable player. An outraged Doyle says FIFA has "been hoodwinked into declaring that swearing at someone is only marginally less objectionable than physically assaulting them." Materazzi, for his part, has been suspended for two games, and was also fined. Throughout his glorious 18-year career, Zidane was always hailed for his humility, and for leading the quiet life or a family man off the field. But, Doyle says, the "disingenuous and self-serving" manner in which he's conducted himself since the World Cup final has served to ruin all that. Materazzi may have insulted his family, but this sort of thing happens all the time in soccer, he says. In fact, several reports point out that Zidane called referee Jorge Larrionda a "son of a bitch" during France's semifinal win against Portugal. So the question is, was there something extraordinary about Materazzi's insult, or is Zidane simply too proud to admit that the pressure of being in a World Cup final in his last game ever with 10 minutes to spare "led him to make a big drama out of the most humdrum of happenings?" We will probably never know, because the case has now been put to bed.

Read the whole story at The Guardian »

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