When I revisit the time in my childhood when I fell in love by the game of football I often stumble on one name: Maradona!
Having heard a lot about myths like Pelé, Eusébio or Garrincha, I always wondered what a super-player must have played like. Maradona answered that question. He was one of those players that you hope will have the ball on his feet during the whole 90 minutes. You knew that with him something magical was bound to happen. Even though he was small and chubby, Diego Maradona was already a star in his teenage years. He could pass, run, dribble and score like no other.
The game of football is always said to be a team game: “It’s not possible to win alone!!”. If this is a rule, Maradona was the exception. Not only he revolutionized Napoli, finally bringing glory to the fans that were yet to win anything, Maradona won (almost) single-handedly the world cup of 1986 in Mexico.
One of the most controversial personalities the game has laid eyes upon, Maradona is considered by many the best player of all time. Above all he is the responsible for a whole generation of football fans, where I am surely included.
If it is a pity that we can’t still watch him play today, lets at least be thankful for technology. Here some of what you missed live!
Eight days have passed since the end of the 2006 football World Cup successfully held by the Germans. The Italians lifted the Cup, but the most-talked about event of the final game between Italy and France was undoubtedly Zidane's infamous head butt on the Italian defender Marco Materazzi. (See some of the images that have been passing around the internet)
Zidane’s moment of rage (it’s actually the second time he got sent off a World Cup game, which is a record) might have drowned the hopes of a second cup victory, but the French seemed to have forgiven their hero. Jacques Chirac received the team with open arms and Zidane with kind words, while the surrounding fans cheered and sang “Zizou, Zizou”.
The defeat however was not digested well, and some Frenchman like Mr. Mouhou (a lawyer, of course) even intend to have it repeated. Yes, I said repeated. Why? Well, upon defeat Mr. Domenech (the French coach) was (once again) not very graceful and decided to fire in the direction of the fourth referee (the one who informed the referee of the exchange between Zidane and Materazzi). According to Mr. Domenech the fourth referee did not see what happened when it happen but only later in one replay from a TV set nearby (which is forbidden by FIFA regulations).
FIFA and the fourth referee have dismissed the charges, but Mr. Mouhou (who says he is acting on behalf of a number of clubs and associations whose names he would later reveal) still hopes to have the game nullified, and would be filing a lawsuit in the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris, one of France's main civil courts. (What would the nationality of the Judge be, might I ask??)
In the meantime Zidane has spoken about the incident on TV. Unexpectedly he said he feels no regret, and went to say that the “real” guilt belonged to Materazzi, who had harshly insulted him some moments before. Motivated by the pressure of the media and the spheres of (internal) political influence, FIFA opened an inquiry on what really happened between Materazzi and Zidane.
No one really knows what to expect as a result of these inquiries, but I personally think that they are completely unnecessary. What happened was quite clear, Zidane intentionally aggressed Materazzi. Red card! Sent off the pitch with a heavy sanction on his back. Bye-bye Mr. Zizou.
Nobody can expect this to end the “trash talk” that goes on every single football game neither between professionals nor between friends playing the “Married vs. Singles” matches.
What kind of a signal would FIFA send by condemning the words of Materazzi? Would that mean that soon enough we’ll have a dictionary of “curse-words” forbidden during a football match?? And who would translate it into all the other different languages?? And how many polyglot-referees do we have in the FIFA pool of referees? Can you imagine refereeing a game Tajikistan vs. Yemen, right?? Go figure!
If you open the 24 Heures today and turn to the "Lausanne and its region" section (6th July, 2006) you will see me. Yes, I'm in the newspaper and you can even see a picture of me there. I'm the only Asian in the picture (in fact, I believe I may be the only Asian in the whole newspaper but I could be wrong).
Here's my beef: it is my first and closest experience to fame and I'm MISQUOTED! The nice reporter came up to me and asked me to comment on the game between Portugal and France. I gave her my honest opinion but she didn't post what I said. So, in an attempt to remedy the situation I've decided to comment here what I more or less told her last night:
"The game was a good match, both sides looked equally strong and defended their positions as well as they could. France eventually won because of a dubious penalty call by the referee but the Portuguese continued to play well, even attempting to score in the 4-minute overtime. But this is the game of football, a game where both sides have 90 minutes to do their best and any mistake made during that time could cost you the game. And in this particular match, both sides played well, neither France nor Portugal looked dominant."
Here's my question, how did this commentary translate into, "Les Française étaient vraiment supérieurs, ils ont mérite la victoire. Zidane était excellent."??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
There was a little bit more and here it is, "Mais nous sommes trés fiers du Portugal, c'st déjà magique d'être arrivés jusqu'ici. On espère que la prochaine fois on ira jusqu'au bout". I agree with this part of the comment but I have to say that I didn't even say this!
To the reporter I say, "If you're going to misquote me at least misspell my name."