Monday, July 10, 2006

Rumors Swirling About What Materazzi
Said To Zidane

First off, this camera angle (tip of the hat to Moin) from Brasilian TV best shows the talking that went on before Zidane lost his mind; after Materazzi's last comments you can see ZZ turn and think to himself in a gangsta Ron Burgundy way: "What did you say?".

Some are claiming that Materazzi said something about Zizou being a terrorist, but Materazzi himself has denied this, hilarously claiming that he does not even know what the word terrorist means, which 5 years after 9/11 is just so absurd that it is funny.

Intrepid DAB reporter (and starting FC Kanu libero) Moin brings us this:

A Brazilian newspaper hired 2 deaf lip-readers and said that Materazzi said something along the lines of "your sister is a whore." Which doesn't seem any worse than anything else Zidane might have heard on that day.

According to Channel 4 news (in France I think), the French camp has claimed that what Materazzi said was actually "your mother is a whore", which, on the surface didn't seem that bad, except when you accompany that with the claim that Zidane just found out earlier in the day that his mother is seriously ill and in the hospital.

The Daily Mail ties most of the rumors together, and is claiming that:

First Marco Matterazzi called the French star the Italian equivalent of 'n*****', and then insulted both his mother and his Muslim background by saying he is the 'son of a terrorist whore'.

The (London) Times hired a lipreader who confirms the latter part of the Daily Mail allegation:

After an exhaustive study of the match video, and with the help of an Italian translator, Rees claimed that Materazzi called Zidane “the son of a terrorist whore” before adding “so just f*** off” for good measure, supporting the natural assumption that the Frenchman must have been grievously insulted. As the son of two Algerian immigrants, the 34-year-old is proud of his North African roots, dedicating France’s 1998 World Cup win to “all Algerians who are proud of their flag and all those who have made sacrifices for their family but who have never abandoned their own culture”, so such a slur would certainly explain, if not justify, his violent response.

Another rumor found here (tip of the hat to DCTrojan) claims:

Rumor has it that Materazzi called Zidane's father a 'harki' - the Arabic term for Algerians who fought for France against Algeria during the occupation. It's beyond all insults, the ultimate traitor. If this is true it means that they did their research - Le Pen suggested the same thing 9 years ago and in the next game Zidane stomped on a Saudi player who repeated it.

Yet another bit of speculation here, along with admittance by MM that he insulted him but claims that the insult was normal for football.

I am as interested as anyone else to find out what Materazzi said to Zidane, but for me the provocation defense is pretty weak: 1) shit talking of various levels goes on all the time in these soccer matches, both club and international. 2) He shoud have learned his lesson from the 1998 World Cup, where a SAudi Arabian player made a remark about his Algerian/Arab heritage and he reacted by raking his cleats on the dude's leg - he was given a 2 match ban. 8 years later and as team captain there is simply no excuse 3) He is a veteran, been through all this stuff, is the captain, it is the biggest match in the world, and also the final match of his career. No excuses whatsoever. I guess he has never heard of Woody Hayes...

Sorry to say it, because he is a soccer God, but plain and simple, Zidane got what he deserved. I don't care how much of a reputation Mr. Materazzi has for unsavory behavior on the field. It seems like too big of a shitstorm has been caused that it won't come out in the next 48 hours, so we'll just wait and see.


parnellpr said...

Couldn't agree more about Materazzi not knowing about Terrorism....who the hell doesn't in the western world. And yes the great man got what he deserved, sadly, although the fact that Materazzi was involved didn't surprise me. I have done post match analysis too and would appreciate any comments. Pippa

moin said...

Imagine if Materazzi knew Zidane's mother was sick and made such a comment as he has been accused of. Still inexcusable what Zidane did, but damn, that crosses the line.

Kanu said...


Let me be clear - I am not exonerating MM, but for me this is not a zero sum game, where 1 person is in the right and one is in the wrong. They were both in the wrong - it's a lose/lose situation. Sad and unfortunate all around.

Thistle71 said...

I for one am buying the "harki" claim (partly as props to my bro for finding it), because it is at once so obscure, yet so simple - and also because it has been ignored by the press with only one outlet (and by "outlet" I mean the linked blog) mentioning it.

Consider this - Marcello Lippi was once Zidane's manager. If any one would have any knowledge of what would push him over the edge, it would be him.

That said, maybe that was his real finale and bow out. Years of putting up with sh*t, already has a WC, so why not take an *ssh*le out. totally nuts, though.

Kanu said...

Apparently we'll find out soon enough - he is supposed to speak to the media about it "later in the week".

Yeah - that explanation almost seems more plausible. The more you think about it, calling his dad an AGlerian that killed his own people is worse than what is alleged to have been said about his mama. As I said, we'll find out soon enough.

Good point about Lippi - with all the musical chairs of coaching in Serie A, I had forgottent that he coached ZZ at Juve.

The one thing I must say in MM's defense is what a fucking hard nut he is, to have carried on like he did. I've been feeling my sternum today and it is hard to imagine how ZZ didn't fracture MM's breastplate. I'm sure it is bruised, but MM lived up to his reputation as a hard man by taking it. Some of the softer footballers out there would not have played on. My God, Robert Pires would still be laid out on the field right now...

Solon said...

I'm inclined, after reading about everything, to stand up and defend Zidane.

And, understand, no one in the general populace (at this point) knows what was said, but given the consensus of the lip-readers we can probably assume that it was a fairly strong insult regarding someone in Zidane's family, very possibly with a racist element.

It's easy to say, when not involved in the situation, to say that ZZ should have kept his head, and thought about his team, and just taken it. All of these comments come within the prism of viewing the winning of the World Cup as more important than anything else--certainly, it's important, but (1) Zidane has already won one, which was France's first, (2) ZZ is viewed, more than anyone else, as the one person who delivered it, and (3) ZZ is viewed as the person most responsible for getting France to the Final of this World Cup (#3 is false, in my opinion, but that's neither here nor there--because #1 is a fact and #2 is almost universally accepted). Given this, how important is it--really--that he win another?

And, I don't want to be misunderstood--there's no doubt that what he did was completely unprofessional, and it's a shitty thing to put your team in that position when the team has worked so hard to be in a position to win it. But, you'll notice that to a man, none of his teammates are coming down on Zidane for it, probably because they realize the role he has played in French football, and also because they have tremendous respect for the man personally.

So, given all this, I'd argue that there comes a point where you have to step up and defend your dignity, and your family's dignity, as a man. Zidane knew full well that he'd be red-carded for what he was going to do, and it was a price he was willing to pay. I doubt anyone on this blog would take that sort of shit from anyone without some kind of response. My God, how would we all react if someone said to any of us, "You're mother is a whore" (forget about the "terrorist" part), on the day she was hospitalized? That's the sort of thing that is libel to get someone killed, period, end of story. The fact that it took place on the pitch of the World's largest sporting event doesn't make it any less of an affront to his humanity--in fact, in some ways, that makes it even worse.

Would the best revenge have been hoisting the World Cup trophy and sticking it up Materazzi's ass? Of course--but there wasn't any guarantee that would have happened, in which case he'd just have to eat shit and let Materazzi get away with it.

Imagine, if somehow possible--personifying the racist abuse that Eto'o faced against Real Zaragoza, Zoro faced against Internazionale, or SWP and Ashley Cole faced against Spain--and then, imagine it coming from a player on the opposing team on the pitch. If any of them had done to that person what Zidane did to Materazzi, they'd be lauded as heroic for taking a stand against having to put up with that kind of bullshit--and rightfully so.

Fifty years from now, when what really happened is out there, whose legacy will be more tarnished--Zidane's for his red, or Matterazzi's for his racism?

Doug said...

Fifty years from now, when what really happened is out there, whose legacy will be more tarnished--Zidane's for his red, or Matterazzi's for his racism?

Zidane's, easily. Matterrazzi can simply deny he said whatever Zidane is going to accuse him of having said, to the point where even 50 years from now nobody will be completely positive they know what it was. But Zidane's offense was out there in undeniable full color for everyone to see.

And if "Zidane knew full well that he'd be red-carded for what he was going to do" -- which seems entirely plausible to me -- that just makes his offense all the more selfish, the knowledge that he was going to be booted and his team was going to get hamstrung on the world's biggest stage by losing maybe its most important player, and he was still like, "Nah, I wanna do it anyway." Putting your own desire for a get-back above the good of your team is, to my way of thinking, maybe the worst aspect of Zidane's behavior in all this, though the rest of the team doesn't seem to begrudge him for it, to their credit.

I don't know. Like Solon, I can definitely sympathize with Zidane's anger, but someone with his level of experience should've known when to just let it go. Seems like the better revenge would've been to win the friggin' Cup and then mention to the press later on, "Oh, and let me tell you what that loser jackwipe Matterazzi said to me . . . " Instead, he tarnished his legacy to the point where any news story, TV special, Wikipedia entry or what have you on his storied career is going to have to include "His last act as a soccer player was to head-butt blah blah blah in the match in which France lost the '06 World Cup to Italy." And that's a shame.

nerazzurri said...

Here's another take on what was said from the Independent:

Last paragraph reads In Italy they have another explanation. In Italy, Internazionale are mocked as an overspending, poorly run side doomed to failure. The joke is that Materazzi's provocation was simple: he just asked Zidane if he fancied playing for Internazionale.

I'd be laughing if it weren't my team they were talking about.

DC Trojan said...

I was shocked at the randomness of this but I just can't get into hand-wringing over it. The only person who really has anything to live with is Zidane; he's had his punishment already. Should he have sucked it up? Probably, but at some point why is it incumbent on Zidane to show patience with dipshits like Materazzi? He's given France enough already as a footballer.

I suppose this is typical of the urban European nihilism and general bad attitude that the Weekly Standard attributes to soccer fans like me ; )

A7 said...

Well the fact that MM was able to nail the penalty kick after the solarplexis headbutt is pretty amazing as well. I am a huge Internazionale fan but there are no illusions. Racism is rampant in Europe especially in Italy and Spain. I don't condone it or support it. Ignorance has no place in this world. Unfortunately it is a real issue and is used in some very horrible ways. Under the umbrella of lipreaders and translaters. It's amazing that there are so many varying suggestions to what was said. Zidane said it was so personal he didn't want to tell his agent. He said something and Zidane acted and didn't think. Whatever. This is going to get swept under the rug of Juve and Milan and what is to happen for Serie A. I'm just happy that Inter signed Grosso. Great blog Kanu for the WC. Very articulate and informative writing. Kudos! Now I have to start looking for my new jersey!

P.S. Henry never should have comeout of the game.

Kanu said...

Solon - Good points. Again, it's not a zero sum game,but people are acting like it is, like everybody has to line up one one side, defend it, and prove the other side is wrong. I agree with some of your points though - well said.

Also, a way bigger deal is being made of this as far as the match is concerned, and it is being treated out of context. It happened with 9 minutes left, so although ZZ let his team down, all they had to do was play for 9 minutes without him, and Italy were never going to score - hell they didn't even have a shot. Addistionally, no one missed a penalty that was in the position of taking his place. Trez missed, but Trez would have been 1 of the 5 shooters even if ZZ, TH, and PV were on the field (SW would have been the 5th). IF one of the defenders that was forced to shoot a PK (Abidal, Sagnol) missed, then the "he let his team down" narrative would have more pull. Or, if he did what he did early in the match, got sent off, and France than had to play 4-4-1 for say 100 minutes, and THEN France lost, then people could go on and on about how he let the team down. I would even argue that France was hurt much more by not having Henry for 28 minutes of extra time, and even more so Vieira for 66 minutes than Zizou for the last 9. I guess all that I am saying is that you have to take the incident in context of the match - in the end he didn't actually let his team down in a soccer sense - UNLESS he would have scored the winner himself in those final 9 minutes. From a soccer standpoint, the whole thing is largely irrelevant - not even in the top 5 most relevant things I would even dare to say (both goals, Toni hitting the crossbar, Toni offsides goal, PV4 & Henry having to go off, France's 2nd half penalty appeal, Buffon's save from ZZ's header, and the penalties, specifically Trezeguet's miss). But it certainly was the most startling thing, thus all the attention.

Another thing that many commentators are conveniently forgetting is that unlike us, he didn't take time co consider all of his options, and the ramifications of those options. It was a spur of the moment, impromptu reaction. Yes, he blew his top and did what he did, but it feels like there is a little too much moralizing going on, like people are critiizing him as if he weighed all his options and then did what he did.

Finally, it's pretty trippy to think about the fact that what he did yesterday was viewed initially by between 1 and 2 billion people, and since then even more. I am trying to think of any similar act by another person that was viewed by 1 in every 3 people on planet earth. 9/11 qualifies surely, but I don't know if there has been one since then. It's just trippy to think about - talk about water cooler talk. Damn.

Kanu said...


Thanks. I was so pissed at Domenech for subbing Henry, especially for completely ineffective Wiltord, but then when I watched the replay on Sunday night it was obvious that Henry was subbed because he had leg cramps: 1) After the 1st extra time, they showed the trainers working his legs over big time, spraying the frozen stuff and rubbing his legs. 2) 2 minutes in he walked off really slowly and gingerly, and they once he walked down the bench you could see that he was limping pretty good 3) Knowing what I know of his temperment, if he was still fit and was subbed he would have been visibly upset and showed his disapproval - I have absolutely no doubt. But he shook Dommenech's hand when he came off as if to say thanks and I tried my best. If Domenech had pulled him after he had just literally ran around 3 Italian defenders in the 1t extra time then he would have been pissed and sulked to show it. So Domenech is off the dumbass hook that I had him on al day Sunday.

Henry better rest up - Arsenal have their Champions League play-in game in a month.

Nicole said...

Do we think this would be differently had ZZ done something "more socially acceptable" (for lack of a better term) like punch MM?
Is it the primal, caveman aspect of it that we're having problems with? I mean, honestly, if any of us were in that situation, wouldn't we just have cold-cocked the guy?

I feel like it's the headbutt that people have a problem with. If ZZ'd done the expected, I feel like people wouldn't be as surprised.

Entertainingly enough, what ZZ did, if you think about it, is probably more civilized. ZZ didn't break MMs nose, as a punch likely would have done. ZZ didn't mar him or stop him from competing. He vented his anger in probably the least physically damaging way.

I mostly thought of all of that as I was typing it, so sorry if it's a little all over the place.

Nicole said...

Oh, and MM has admitted to insulting ZZ, but said it wasn't anything about terrorist. "I'm uncultured. I don't even know what an islamic terrorist is," he said.

He also denies saying anything about ZZ's mom or sister. He said mother's are sacred.

A7 said...

I also liked the fact that footy instinct took over and Zidane did not use his hands when striking Kramer.

Gatorwalsh said...

Zidane home game!

Great WC coverage Kanu! Go Gators!

Michael said...

Solon, I disagree with your defense of Zidane on the grounds that violence, especially violence outside of the context of the game, simply isn't an acceptable response. Eto'o did the right thing at Zaragoza by walking off and getting his teammates to take up his cause. It embarrassed the racists. Ashley Cole and SWP did the right thing by ignoring the racists in Madrid and refusing to give them power over him. ("No one can make you feel inferior without your own consent." - Eleanore Roosevelt). Headbutting Materazzi was worse than making a racist statement and it made Zidane the villain, rather than Materazzi.

I'm also not entirely sold on the notion that "terrorist" is a racist statement, any more than calling a Frenchman a "cheese-eating surrender monkey" is. It seems more like an attack on Zidane's nationality, although who the hell knows what Materazzi intended or was thinking when he made the statement, other than "I'm going to get under Zidane's skin to see if he'll blow his top."

Solon said...

Michael--first off, I appreciated your writing during the World Cup. At least, I appreciated the part that was not ripping on Henry!

I was speaking hypothetically, trying to imagine the worst possible scenario and imposing that upon the situation. As is, the condemnation was coming in with what was said being unknown--so, I was exploring whether there is any situation that warrants Zidane's response. In terms of the racism, the only term that is overtly racist is "Harki," although I'd argue that calling an Muslim a "terrorist" is at least subtly racist.

I think, seeing Eto'o's reaction, I don't doubt that he'd have floored an opposing player that was doing the same thing the crowd was doing. As the situation stood, he had little choice but to walk off the pitch--you can't very well run into the stands and start taking everyone out (although, if I'm not mistaken he stayed on the pitch and made a goal, scored by Larsson--certainly the best revenge, although there's no guarantee you'll get it. Kudos to him for keeping his composure and getting the job done). Truth be told, I don't think his reaction embarrassed the racists, so much as the whole situation embarrassed the non-racists in the crowd.

Certainly it's easy to be high-minded and say that the best thing to do is turn the other cheek in any sort of situation when being taunted. And 99% of the time, it is the right thing to do. But, I'd argue there are exceptions.

Apples and oranges, certainly, but if someone killed your entire family, and then taunted you about it, there's almost no one who would fault you for a physical response. Obviously, Materazzi's insult doesn't rise to that level, but the point I am making is that there is a point where physical reactions to taunts are forgiven by society at large, and even considered commendable. The only question is where that point is. For Zidane, Materazzi crossed that line--most people wouldn't agree that what he did was acceptable, but as long as Zidane thinks it was I would imagine he is comfortable with the consequences. He's probably been listening to that shit his entire life, and finally just got fed up with it.

phil said...

Solon, you are going to great lengths to excuse your boy but none of it matters. Whatever was said, Zidane was in the wrong. Period.

Solon said...

Phil--actually, I am no great fan of Zidane. Quite frankly, I think he's vastly overrated and I've always though all of the talk comparing him with Pele, Maradona, or the other greats is ridiculous. There was a thread about this a while back, although it was pretty wordy and probably wasn't read by a lot of people.

And, if you read my comments regarding Zidane during this World Cup, you'll see that I was plenty pissed that he was getting all the hype that rightfully belonged, in my opinion, to Patrick Vieira.

What's most amazing to me, however, is how while the tone regarding him was universally positive prior to the incident, and now is universally negative. What he did to Materazzi was certainly no worse than his headbutt on Kientz when he was with Juventus, is it? But, of course, in the rush to love Zidane during this World Cup, that incident was forgotten.

The truth is, what he did was bad, but not as bad as people are making it out to be.

Anonymous said...

Five years gone since that moment and here i am still remembering it.
Yeah the points made by Solon are interesting, yeah i partially agree but i still trying to believe what the truth was.

I would like someone to tell me if they know of any weird incidents involving Zidane while he was at Juventus. Any unpleasant personal business problems of him or his family while playing in Italy?

Most of people say that he was dedicated to his wife (ex-dancer or maybe ex-lapdancer?), however they are saying that he took advantage of the night life in Turin (women, clubs, cars etc.). He was reluctant to leave Juventus at one point.
If anything had happened to Zidane during them years Lipi would have certainly know about it.
And to be honest Zidane have never spoke of his life while in Turin, it was always Real Madrid that he is been telling about.
Materazzi YEAH he is hard, tough opponent to play against BUT none the less if he was racist it would have come out since he has had many black players in Inter. (no disrespect).
And the other is, if someone called Zidane a 'Harki' do you think that while playing in France nobody else would have mentioned the word? Are you so naive thinking that the other players would have been so easy on him?

NO i still think there is something deeper than that, still think that has something to do with Zidane back in 1998 in Turin and his wife been involved......

cost per head said...

There are people that they don't know how to treat another human being with respect. Materazzi was out of himself when he said that to Zizou.

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