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July 10, 2006   

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The scarred French messiah

It is these roots that Zidane has a strange relationship with. He has been known to flare up when taunted about his ghetto and Algerian origins -- like he did when he stomped on Saudi Arabian footballer Faoud Amin in the 1998 World Cup.

And yet he got his managers to ban songs by Marseilles rap, reggae and rai -- Algerian pop, best-known to the world from Sting's Desert rose, which featured rai singer Cheb Mami -- bands that eulogised him.

Also See: Zidane's red card was just, butt broke rules?

In the mean streets of Le Castellane -- where Zidane lived with his four siblings till he was 13 and where his elder brother Farid still lives -- rai, reggae and rap are like oxygen.

Then again, Zidane continues to be the honorary president of La Castellane's football club.

Yesterday once more: Mexican referee Arturo P Brizio Carter sends Zidane, then 26, off at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, during the 1998 France-Saudi Arabia World Cup match. He returned to the side after a one-match suspension and scored two incredible goals in the final against Brazil. France won the World Cup that year.

Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

Also See: Football Fiesta: The complete coverage

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