Zinedine Zidane, Slightly Perturbed

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So, it has been about 16 hours, and we still haven't quite gotten over the amazement of Zinedine Zidane's brutal headbutt to end his soccer career. It was truly one of the most astounding sports moments we can remember; like many Americans, we struggled to come up with an American sports equivalent, save for maybe Michael Jordan decking Byron Russell with two minutes left in Game 6. And even that wouldn't quite be the same.

So everyone's wondering: What exactly did set him off? A racist comment? A nipple tweak? It's not like Marco Materazzi, the head-buttee, doesn't have a history of dirty play himself.


Of course, in a World Cup final, in his final game, it would seem inexcusable, particularly when it might have cost him the pivotal penalty kick (though we think that's somewhat overstating it). But we're not going to lie to you: Even though it could have irrefutably damaged his team, even though it was over-the-top and violent and kind of insane ... we think it's one of the coolest things we've ever seen in a soccer match. We know it's wrong to say that. But it's true.

Why? [Hindu Times]
Head Hits Man In Chest [Mutoni's Musings]

(By the way, thanks to commenter BlogPirates for that image.)

(UPDATE: Here's a theory on what might have set him off.)

(SECOND UPDATE: The Daily Mail is reporting it was indeed a racist comment.)

(THIRD UPDATE: A French newspaper reports Zidane's brother says he must have been called a terrorist or "something serious" for him to make the move. Warning: The link is in French, so we're just kind of guessing that's what it says.)