Ladies and Gentlemen: Before Sunday, July 9th, I knew nothing about Zinedine Zidane. I watched the final game of the World Cup with a crowd of internationals in New York, and during the match I gathered from the conversation that Zidane was one of the greatest players of the last quarter century and the captain of the French team. I was mildly impressed when he scored France's first goal.
Fast forward to the second overtime (or whatever it is called in soccer). It was a tie game, and unless there was a goal, would head to a shootout. At this point, Materazzi, an Italian drama star of the flopping, diving variety, gave Zidane a "Purple Nurple", called his mama a whore and proclaimed that his sister's vagina tastes like butter cream.
With 10 minutes left in the biggest soccer game in the freaking world, most normal, non-badasses would ignore such affronts. A true badass however, seeks immediate retribution.
Zidane calculatingly looked around, made sure that none of the referees were watching, calmly approached Materazzi as though to continue their erudite conversation, and then laid down the best headbutt to the solar plexus that I have ever seen. Everyone in the crowd let out a groan of sympathy as Materazzi fell to the pitch. Zidane turned and walked away as though Materazzi had simply slipped.
Unfortunately, the cameras had captured this amazing display of badassery, and it must have been replayed on a jumbotron. (A conflicting report suggests that it was witnessed by a line judge who was not in position to call a penalty). Zidane was handed a red card.
Zidane has pushed his reputation from "excellent futbol player" to Soccer badass, and joined the likes of famous ballgrabber Vinnie Jones.
Zinedine Zidane Q & A
Q: What kind of man risks ejection from such an important game merely to punish some schmuck for minor crimes?
A: A man who never takes crap. A man with confidence that the rest of his team could win the ensuing shootout without him. A man who believes vengeance should be swift and brutal. A man with more temper than brains. A very special kind of badass.
Q: Don't you think the headbutt was so much classier than just hauling off and slugging the guy?
A: Yes. Especially when you consider that an all-world soccer player can probably headbutt the holy living bejeezus out of someone.
Addendum: French playmaker Zinedine Zidane has received the Adidas Golden Ball Award after being voted best player of the tournament by the accredited journalists present at the Final of the 2006 FIFA World Cup on 9 July. And probably also for having the biggest balls of any footballer in the tournament.
Video Clip of the Headbutt
Gifdump.com, where all these Zidane GIFs came from (Not Safe for Work)
A British Lip-Reader Explains What Happened