Monday, July 10, 2006

Why Zidane Attacked Materazzi

The sporting world continues to be infatuated with the events that took place in the World Cup final. The opinion is almost unanimous, Zidane lost his cool, went crazy and experienced a complete loss of control. But perhaps we all got it wrong. Perhaps we are all missing the real reason. Perhaps Zidane wasn’t driven to rage by a racist remark. Perhaps he just took advantage of a golden opportunity to become the next star of Joga Bonito.

Joga Bonito, commonly known as the beautiful game, but literally meaning "play beautifully," has been one of the commercial moments of genius during this World Cup – Nike took control of the airways and inspired fans around the world with this brilliant piece of marketing. The commercials glamorize the Brazilian style of soccer – the amazing rhythm and movement of the world’s greatest team. But Brazil let the world down, playing a lack luster and uninspired tournament. Almost any other team would probably have been pleased with a showing like Brazil’s. However, in the world of Joga Bonito, the Brazilians were anything but.

The spokesman of Nike’s commercials was one Eric Cantona. In addition to being one of the great football players of the 90’s (winning 4 English Premiership titles in 5 years), Eric is also known for some truly “beautiful” moments on the pitch. The following image captures his most beautiful:

In interviews after the game, when asked about his kung fu kick aimed at an abusive Crystal Palace fan, Eric’s response to questions was: "When the seagulls... follow the trawler... it's because they think... sardines will be thrown into the sea."

(Check out the faces of the people in the stands. Insane.)

Perhaps, just perhaps, while the rest of the world is busy criticizing Zidane for a moment of weakness, perhaps it really was a moment of supreme clarity. Who better to spearhead the Joga Bonito movement into the 2010 era for South Africa than the man who stole the story, the man who won the golden ball, the man who may just have topped a king fu kick into the crowd by lining up an Italian in his sights and charging him like a bull, rewarding the dives and pretty boy antics of the Italians with a most un-cindrella like finish to a glorious career. His phone may be ringing as we speak, Nike on the other line, plotting the next commercial. So far, the only place that Zidane has fallen short is by not responding to the queries of the world with a French haiku.


rc said...

I have to admit, I was just as shocked as anyone to see Zidane almost put his head through Materazzi's chest (maybe he was trying to eat his heart?), but it was really good to see the Italian in the fetal position on the ground for an actual reason this time. Materazzi is also no saint, so don't feel bad for him. Check out this piece on YouTube. The guy is capable of some pretty filthy play.

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