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I promised mekkavandexter I'd keep an ear up for this. Zidane has released a statement regarding the incident that got him red carded in the last 10 minutes of extra time. As to be expected, the incident generated a lot of malarky from the press, including lip-readers who all sort of disagree with each other. At the start of his interview with Canal Plus about the issue, he apologized several times, "to all children and everyone who saw the act."

Zidane refused to repeat what Materazzi said, but he did mention that what was said insulted his mother and his sister. From the man himself:

"I tried not to listen to him but he repeated them several times. Sometimes words are harder than blows. When he said it for the third time, I reacted."

He doesn't condone how he reacted at all, and seems to be quite willing to be punished. However, he is adamant that he was standing up for himself. Further quotes found in Zinedine Zidane's wiki from his sole Canal+ interview thus far, also suggest that previous media suggestions that Materazzi called Zidane a "terrorist" were probably true.

The International Herald Tribune has a lovely article about the interview and the possibility that Zidane might lose his Golden Ball Award. FIFA has also opened the possibility for Zidane to lodge a formal appeal in writing, which could result in Zidane and Materazzi being called for a hearing with the governing body.

Finally, it turns out that Zidane refused to go out for his runner-up medal, rather than being prevented from doing so due to his red card. From the Star Online:

"'To see him act like that made me feel bad, for him and for fairplay.'

Furthermore, 'I was told that at the end of the game the French federationexecutives asked Zidane to go and receive his medal, and he replied that he didn't deserve any medal'." - Joseph 'Sepp' Blatter, FIFA President

The full Canal+ interview is up at Zidane's official website, here. I humbly beg for translations. (And I'm sure I have at least a handful of French speakers among my friends who might be reading this...)


Jul. 14th, 2006 09:25 am (UTC)
This is what I could translate, sorry for the bad English XD. I've added the last paragraph from the (more complete) video which can be watched on the site of Canal + :

They were words which hurt me deeply inside me.

- Can you repeat them ? Because everyone wants to know what was said.

No, actually it would be very serious to..., it was about very personal things, the mother, the sister, and they were very harsh words. You hear it once, you try to leave. That's what I do, actually I leave. You hear it a second time, and the third time... I'm before all a man, and I want to say that they are words that are more harsh than (acts). I would have rather preferred to have taken a punch in my face than to have heard that (...) and I reacted, and of course it wasn't an act to do, of course, and I say it loudly, because that was seen by 2 or 3 billions of viewers, and by millions of children, so of course I apologize to them, I say it loudly, and also to the educators who are there to educate these children and to show them what can be done and what can't be done. So of course, I apologize to them.

- Do you really feel regret, as a man, for what you did ?

No, I precisely can't regret my act. If I regret it, it would mean that he was right to say all that, so I can't say that. I apologize to all the children and all the persons who saw this act, because these acts are not tolerable. But...to regret this act would mean that he was right to say what he said, and no, he isn't right to have said what he said. Surely not. Surely not.

- Then if it was something to do again, will you do it again ?

I've told you enough my thoughts.

- Alright.

What I want to say is that, we only talk about the reaction. Of course, the reaction must be punished. But if there isn't any provocation, then there can't be any reaction. One must say that there is first a provocation. And the culprit is the one who provokes. This is what I want to say and defend. Because it's enough to always punish the reaction. If I reacted, it's because something happened. Do you think that in a world cup final, while I'm at 10 minutes before the end of my career, I would do such an act only for the pleasure ? Can you think that, one minute ?

- Of course no, so you did it voluntarily, in cold blood ?

Yes, in cold blood.

- Not because you were out of your mind.

No. It's because there was actually a provocation, a very serious provocation, that's all. Now, I tell you, my act is unforgivable, but that's not what I am saying right now, I just say that it's the true culprit who has to be punished. And the culprit is the one who provokes.

- And if there is an investigation, maybe we'll know, I mean it's word against word...

It's not "maybe", you can do many stuffs, read on the lips and all these things.

- Yes the Italian or English newspapers already did it and it confirms approximately what you said, about the insults against you mother and your sister

Yes, after all, I mean... as I said, I was at 10 minutes before the end of my career.

- And after you did this headbutt, the referee comes, at that moment you are calm with the referee, what do you explain to him at that moment ?

I explain precisely that there were provocations, that I didn't do that without reason. And that if someone told him something, because no one had precisely seen anything, that he must also see what the other player did. Now I told you everything, and the most important, once more, is that this act wasn't forgivable and I apologize to all the children who saw that. Because I have children, I know what it is about, I will always tell them not to let anyone tread on their toes, and I want to thank soccer, to thank all the people who supported the French team, and of course who at the same time supported me (...)
Jul. 14th, 2006 06:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the translation! It was very helpful, and I insist, your English is not bad at all. :)

Zidane sounds remorseful in his conversation. It seems he did everything he could to take his part of the blame right after the headbutt by talking to the referee. He also refused his own runner-up medal to punish himself, it seems. Now we must see what Materazzi's case is, and certainly what FIFA decides specifically about this situation.

I don't think it will come to a point where Italy will lose its World Cup, as the headbutt didn't have very much to do with them winning (Italy won by penalty shootout, so the French team still held on with ten men to that time). Suspending Zidane is pointless since he's retired anyway. They could take away Zidane's Golden Ball, which I think even he expects and acknowledges when he says he deserves some form of punishment. Materazzi is still an active player. FIFA can do a lot with him, if it turns out he made racist remarks, which under FIFA's new regulations, is a very serious offence.

Interestingly, however we look at this, Zidane still has a future as a hero for many people. I don't think anyone really holds this one incident against him as his entire history as a soccer player, regardless of what the media says. It's unfortunate, but if Materazzi did make racist remarks, he did it against one of the players who was really an icon of diversity and racial tolerance in the game. So in the long run, it can be said, Materazzi will be the one with more to lose...
Jul. 15th, 2006 07:46 am (UTC)
Maybe one can say that Zidane preferred to defend his family than the world cup, which is after all understandable :) No matter what FIFA decides, Zidane is someone we can believe in, and it seems that it's isn't really the case for this Materazzi ^^;

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