Thursday, July 13, 2006

Racism in European Soccer: Marco Materazzi & Zinedine Zidane

With a hat tip to Mike Sever, the “inside scoop” on a violent confrontation in the World Cup final.
It is the question on every football fan’s lips. What did the Italian footballer say to prompt Zinedine Zidane’s shocking headbutt in the closing moments of Sunday’s World Cup final?

The answer, it has emerged, was a vile stream of racial and personal abuse.

First Marco Matterazzi called the French star the Italian equivalent of “n*****”, and then insulted both his mother and his Muslim background by saying he is the “son of a terrorist whore.”

The revelation will prove even more of an embarrassment to football’s governing body than the ironic award of player of the tournament to French captain Zidane.

To millions of television viewers around the world it appeared as if the two sportsman were enjoying a jocular exchange, until the moment Zidane lowered his head and sent his opponent plummeting to the ground.

With the help of an expert lip reader the Daily Mail was able to decipher what led to the violent outburst.

First defender Marco Materazzi spoke in Italian - a language understood by Zidane who once played for Italian side Juventus - grabbed his opponent and told him “hold on, wait, that one’s not for a n***** like you.”

It is not clear whether the Italian was referring to the ball heading their way or his own groping of Zidane.

The expert, who can lip read foreign languages phonetically and translate with the aid of an Italian interpreter, was unable to see what Zidane said in reply.

But she saw that as the players walked forward Materazzi said: “We all know you are the son of a terrorist whore.”

Then, just before the headbutt, he was seen saying,: “So just f*** off.”

The translation tallies with the words of Zidane’s agent who said the player had told him the Italian made a “very serious” comment.
What exactly was said continues to be debated, but there is no doubt that Zidane, who is the son of Algerian immigrants and was born and raised in Marseille, has been taunted about his heritage during his entire soccer career.

This is just a tidbit for those on the left who think that, on issues as diverse as the death penalty, the Iraq War or gay marriage, Europe is somehow more civilized than and morally superior to the United States.


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