David Hirshey writes regularly for Deadspin about soccer.
So it turns out that the most famous red card last year wasn't the one given to Zinedine Zidane for his notorious headbutt of Marco Matterazzi in the World Cup final. Rather, it was the one handed to Saddam Hussein in the closing minutes of his once dominating career. Who knew that before you can be executed in Iraq you must be officially notified in the form of —you guessed it— a red card , a tasty little news calorie that was lost in the Zapruder-like coverage of Saddam going down swinging. (Thanks to Slate's David Plotz for the tip).
While their names — say Saddam/Zidane three times fast — have an Obama/Osama homophonity (and I don't mean that in a Brokeback kind of way), the similarities end there. Zidane was taunted before his red card, whereas Saddam had to endure a little gallows humor on the way to you know where (I'm sorry if it's too soon for some of you, but, as you know, if we don't make the jokes the Bush administration wins). And, of course, Saddam's red card meant he was sent off for good, while Zidane, post-headbutt, is more popular than ever in France, continues to rack up endorsement dollars and can still kick his friends ass at occasional 5-v-5 pickup games, as witnessed in this video.
Don't miss his move at around the 2:30 mark, when he runs all the way back to his own goal, skins a guy, then whips a cross onto his pal's head. But the thing that strikes me the most after watching this video is the sudden reappearance of Zidane's hair. As far as I'm concerned, to hell with Rogaine, I'll be spending my weekend driving my thinning pate into Leitch's sternum.