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July 10, 2006   

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Why, Zidane? Why?

Zinedine Zidane's first coach Jean Varraud had said that Zizou's initial weeks at AS Cannes were spent off the field as a cleaner -- punishment for punching an opponent who had made fun of Zidane's ghetto origins.

That anger, which arguably the world's finest footballer in recent times had learnt over the years to rein in, surfaced again on Sunday night.

It began about five minutes from the penalties with Italian players -- led by goalkeeper Gialiuigi Buffon -- running to the assistant referee as Marco Materazzi lay writhing on the ground.

Video replays showed an exchange of words between Zidane and Materazzi, after which the French captain rammed into the Italian defender head-first, throwing him to the ground.

Photographs: Getty Images

Also See: Football Fiesta: The complete coverage


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