Tuesday, July 11, 2006

What did Materazzi say ?

Let's be honest, we're all dying to know what he said. Well, so far there is only rumour and lipreading. But the claims have been getting steadily worse. Firstly, there was a general accusation of racism against the Italian. Remember that he has some previous:

"In a match between Messina and Inter in Sicily, Marc Zoro picked up the ball and walked off the pitch in protest at the monkey chants spewed at him by savage Inter fans. One team mate Materazzi shouted ’stop that, Zoro, you’re just trying to make a name for yourself’.” Zoro’s response, “I didn’t even argue with him, I’ve no intention of lowering myself to that level.” "

But it seemed unlikely that a whispered insult about your nationality, or even the accusation of being a "dirty terrorist", (which was L'Equipe's interpretation of the incident), would lead to that Billy Goat charge. The following seems much more likely.

According to French newspapers yesterday evening, Materazzi said "I hope Jean suffered". Jean Varraud was Zidane's first trainer and Zidane considered him his second father. He died from a long cancer battle just before the Spain game.

If that is true, then Zidane showed admirable restraint. What I can't understand is why he didn't give him a proper whack. If you're going to get sent off, you might as well give him a real dig instead of a playful nod in the plexus.

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