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Zidane and Albert Camus
Kailas | October 23, 2007 at 06:38 amby
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This unique set of events becomes all the more remarkable after watching the film Zidane; Portrait of the 21st Century and seeing his fate foretold: an eerie paratextual premonition of the Zidane’s final footballing moments in Berlin. Before seeing the film, he was a villain of the first order, guilty of levelling his head at another player and sending him crashing to the ground, of throwing his team’s chance of victory away with only ten minutes of play remaining, of reacting to deliberate but predictable provocation with a violent outburst that demeaned the professionalism of a long career at the top. After seeing the film, his behaviour becomes predictable, inevitable: the necessary reaction of a man who stands astride the game itself. We are confronted with the question, how can the game’s greatest player commit the game’s greatest foul without saying something important about the game?
Zinedine Zidane is a man of few words, and fewer explanations, yet he holds the gaze of the wider world more consistently than any other footballer alive today. In 1998 he was the lynchpin of French World Cup victory, and this year it was his return to form that steered an otherwise lacklustre team all the way to the final, only for him to be sent off after committing the most ostentatious and inexplicable foul in recent times. In the following days he was given a small punishment, along with the man he knocked over, he apologised only to children for what they saw, and despite his refusal to express regret, he received both the backing of his team mates, and the thanks of a grateful nation. No opprobrium, no vilification, no disgrace. The red card and his slow walk past the World Cup Trophy into the dressing room became a shocking – but somehow appropriate – end to the illustrious career of a player who transcended the game.