Zidane “provoked,” to speak about World Cup final

In the Guardian today:

Zinedine Zidane’s chestbutt on Marco Materazzi was “provoked” by a comment from the Italy defender, according to the player’s agent. And, while Alain Migliaccio did not know what Materazzi said, he confirmed that Zidane would reveal the exact nature of the comments soon.

The group SOS Racism has further reported that Materazzi called Zidane a “dirty terrorist”:

“According to several very well informed sources from the world of football, it would seem that the Italian player Marco Materazzi called Zinedine Zidane a ‘dirty terrorist’,” SOS Racism said in a statement.

The Daily Mail has used a lip reader to decipher what was said to Zidane:

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 New York Times reports that Zidane’s family speculates that he reacted to a racial insult regarding his Algerian heritage.

Zidane has yet to say anything publicly about the incident. But family members, in telephone interviews, said they believed the Italian defender Marco Materazzi had called Zidane, the son of Algerian immigrants, a “terrorist.”

“We think he either called him a terrorist or a son of Harkis,’’ said Mokhtar Haddad, one of Zidane’s cousins, who with friends and family studied the pivotal scene on a big screen in the family’s home village Aguemoune, 160 miles east of Algiers.

The Harkis reference is a term for Algerians who fought on the French side in Algeria’s war for independence, and it is a severe insult for someone with Zidane’s heritage.

“The insult went in that direction,’’ said Djamel Zidane, the player’s brother, adding that Zidane was expected to call his family in Algeria on Monday evening or Tuesday to tell them exactly what had happened. “Otherwise he would not have reacted that way.’’

Materazzi is quoted as having said, in denial of the terrorist comment, “I am ignorant, I don’t even know what an Islamic terrorist is.” That sounds like a pretty lame excuse to me. To live in this time, in this century and not know what an Islamic terrorist is–how is that possible except for someone truly ignorant?

Click here to see a video of some of Materazzi’s previous fouls.

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