Photo via AP

You may know Zinedine Zidane as the manager of Real Madrid. If you don’t know him from that, you definitely remember him as the guy who flipped out in the 2006 World Cup final and headbutted an opponent. Though apparently Zidane himself has forgotten about that, judging from some recent quotes.

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In the aftermath of Real Madrid’s marvelous Champions League comeback yesterday, Zidane was predictably laudatory in his media appearances. In that tense environment, it was imperative that neither his players nor himself lose their cool.

There are plenty of ways to express this good and true sentiment. In light of Zidane’s past, he chose the most curious. From ESPN FC (emphasis mine):

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Speaking on his 100th day as Madrid first-team coach after the 3-0 win over Wolfsburg, Zidane compared his tenure thus to his playing career, saying, “Being a coach is much, much more difficult.

“I am not worried about what might happen, but focus on what we can do each day to improve.

“There can be difficult moments, but you must be relaxed when that happens. You should not go crazy, as anything can happen in football. I never lost my head as a player, and will never do so as a coach.

If you find your face twisting into the incredulous visage of Nick Young, you are not alone. Did he really mean to say that? It’s not a question of translation, as the Spanish transcription affirms his use of the word “cabeza” there.

Does he, uh, not remember this?:

Did he forget about all those other times he “lost his head” in the middle of games?:

Does he consider his headbutt and the moments like them not as instances of him “losing his head” but in fact as strategic or calculated moves? He does appear pretty calm and collected in the moments leading up to and following his blow-ups. Or maybe David Hirshey on this very site was right all those years ago when he diagnosed the Frenchman with a brain aneurysm that the quick-thinking Zidane knew he could fend off by driving his head into a human sternum?

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Someone needs to ask him these questions to get to the bottom of this. Or remind him of what he was doing one fine summer evening in 2006. Or nominate his face for inclusion in the dictionary to sit alongside the definition of irony.

[ESPN FC]