'He looked at me with a huge arrogance and said, 'If you really want my shirt I'll give it to you afterwards'. I replied with an insult, that's true.'
Ah, here's something from February. He's a member of the Northern League..
Zidane: "Racists are not invited!"
July 7, 2006
The captains of the World Cup finalists have come together to support football's fight against racism ahead of the final on Sunday in Berlin. France and Italy captain's Zinedine Zidane and Fabio Cannavaro have both written short statements calling for an end to racism in the game to the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network [..].
FARE campaigners have been working alongside FIFA, the German Organising Committee and German fan organisation KOS at the World Cup to challenge and raise awareness of racism in football. [..]
The "Football Unites" programme will conclude in front of Berlin's famous Brandenburg gates on the fan mile where FARE German partners Dem Ball egal will run the mobile football game, Streetkick, and anti-racism fanzines and flyers in Italian and French will be distributed.
Fabio Cannavaro, Italy Captain
"We must remain vigilant against racism and every form of intolerance or racially motivated discrimination. This battle must be fought resolutely and consistently every single day. We should not restrict ourselves to appeals or words, but rather lay down a clear marker through our own conduct. This applies in particular to footballers. "We know we have a large responsibility, especially with regard to the very young, who from a cultural point of view are particularly impressionable and forever in search of role models whom they can aspire to emulate. We must therefore avoid any form of discriminatory behaviour, not only on the pitch, but also and especially in our daily lives, so that everyone comes to understand that there can be no differences on account of race, skin colour or religion."Zinedine Zidane, France Captain
"There is no place for racism. It is impossible to love this sport, to play it or to support a team and be racist or xenophobic at the same time. The values conveyed by football are the exact opposite of racism. Because racism promotes exclusion and hate. Football, in contrast, brings people together to share a common pleasure. "Every four years we experience a unique time in which people congregate together, take part together and celebrate together. Racists are not invited."
Everyone loved the Zinedine Zidane chest-butting story. I think it's because we atavistically find foreigners' insults very funny. We shouldn't, but we do. And there were plenty. If Materazzi had said as much as he was accused of saying, they would still be in Berlin now. Take the Daily Express account: Z: "Don't worry, I'll give you my shirt." M: "I would rather take the shirt off your wife." The Times had M saying: "You son of a terrorist whore. Just **** off!" but the Independent reported it as: "You can keep your shirt for your sister, the prostitute." According to the Mirror and the BBC, M wished "an ugly death on you and your family"; others claimed he referred to Jean Ferrade, Zidane's first coach, who died of cancer shortly before the World Cup began: "I hope Jean suffered." Then there was "That's all you deserve, ******* Muslims, terrorist bastards," and many more. Being a lip reader must be fun, like being a novelist - you just make it up.
Much of Europe has begun a controversial political debate about football, after Zidane's ignominious exit from the World Cup and professional football. The legendary footballer headbutted Italian player Marco Materazzi in the 111th minute of the final match after a fierce exchange.
On Monday, even as Zidane met French president Chirac, some of Europe's leading black footballers went on record speculating that the Italian may have slapped the ethnic Algerian Frenchman with a racist insult. Luther Blissett, a black English footballer who played in the Italian Serie A, recounted how French and Italian soccer was notoriously racist. He pleaded for Zidane to go public with an account of what Materazzi really said, so Europe would understand the sometimes subliminal racial mindset of the beautiful game.
AC Milan, Lazio Roma, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are some of the European football clubs most violently affected by racism. At Lazio, Aaron Winter was repeatedly subject to cries of "niggers and Jews out".
Though Zidane has always refused to talk about the politics of race relations, his last outburst is thought to be directly linked to his origins as a poor, north African boy growing up on one of the toughest housing estates in Marseilles. Less than a year after France's worst urban riots in decades, the footballer's fans and critics alike suggested that his background is "the source of an inner rage".
Zidane's team-mate, Guadeloupe-born Lilian Thuram, has repeatedly spoken out against racism in football. In response to Jean-Marie le Pen's attacks on a national team he deems insufficiently French, Thuram said earlier this year, "Long live France - not the one he wants but the real one. Le Pen is not aware that there are black, blond and brown French people".