The Zidane headbutt  JUL 10 2006

The Daily Mail, with corroboration from the Times, has some information on what Marco Materazzi said to Zinedine Zidane to provoke the latter's career ending headbutt in the 2006 World Cup final (more info on that here). They both hired lip readers to decipher Materazzi's dialogue before the incident and this is allegedly what he said (translated from the Italian):

Hold on, wait, that one's not for a nigger like you.

We all know you are the son of a terrorist whore.

So just fuck off.

So it might be fair to say that Materazzi got what he deserved, as did Zidane when he got sent off. Not that two wrongs make a right. Even so, I agree with these thoughts from That's How It Happened:

[Zidane's] willingness to headbutt Materazzi makes him more of a hero, not less. Admittedly, since France went on to lose, he's something of a tragic hero, but a hero none-the-less. If someone insulted my race, or my religion (if I had one), I wish I'd be as ready to attack them, no matter what the circumstances. Zidane's action highlights for the world the fact that the racial unity of France is more important than winning the World Cup.

If the lip reader is correct in what Materazzi said, I may like Zidane even more than I did before the match. (via wikipedia)

Update: Eurosport has a statement from Materazzi:

I held his shirt for a few seconds only, he turned to me, looked at me from top to bottom with utmost arrogance (and said): "if you really want my shirt, I'll give it to you afterwards". I answered him with an insult.

(thx, blythe)

Update: Several UK newspapers enlisted lip readers to determine what Materazzi said and ended up with many different accounts. Lip reading + language translation = unreliable. (thx, luke)

Read more posts on kottke.org about:
2006 World Cup   language   racism   soccer   sports   Zinedine Zidane

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