Every football World Cup has its moments of glory. Alongside, it has its moments of disgrace as well. Zinedine Zidane, one of the most respected midfielders of the world was sent off from the field during the 2006 World Cup final match against Italy. Zidane was sent off after head-butting Marco Materazzi, the Italian defender in the chest. Zidane was already a star player much before the 2006 Fédération Internationale de Football AssociationWorld Cup. In fact, he had announced his retirement from active football after expiry of his contract with Real Madrid in 2006. Playing for his country France, Zidane already knew that he was playing his last World Cup matches. Zidane was one of the finest play-makers, being a mid-fielder, and also one of the fiercest scorers. Having sent out from the match, Zidane did not take part in the penalty shootout. Italy won the match. The star player who was also the skipper of his team could not take part during the crucial hours of the match because of his disgraceful act. Zidane’s action made headlines all over the world. A French newspaper had asked Zidane: “What should we tell our children, for whom you have become an example for ever? How could that happen to a man like you?” FIFA awarded three match suspensions following the red card in the final match. But Zidane had a rousing welcome on his home return, back in France from his fans. Even the then president of France, Jacques Chirac welcomed Zidane, who told him: “you have honoured the country with your exceptional qualities and your fantastic fighting spirit … the whole country is extremely proud of you.”
There have been many embarrassing, or what they call ‘red card’ moments in World Cup matches. The latest of all the names is: Luis Suarez of Uruguay of the current World Cup, though he was not sent off during the match. Suarez allegedly bit the shoulder of Giorgio Chiellini the Italian defender in the group stage match. Following which FIFAbanned striker Suarez from all football activities for four months. FIFA disciplinary committee chairperson Claudio Sulser said Suarez behavior cannot be tolerated on any football pitch particularly when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars of the field. Suarez like Zidane was already a star before the World Cup, earning him recognition from his performances in the Premier League matches. Suarez has been praised for his speedon the turfthat allows him to attack andalso creating scoring opportunities for his teammates.But Suarez recent ouster has proved fatal for his team as well. The rest of the team can join Suarez back home after their defeat in the knock-out match against Columbia in the current World Cup. This is the third time that Suarez has been banned for biting an opponent. In a previous incident April last year, Suarez playing for Liverpool against Chelsea bite Branislav Ivanovic’s forearm. That incident had earned Suarez a ban for 10 matches. A column of The Guardian newspaper quoted clinical psychologist Dr Abigael San, who holds the view that Suarez was led by his emotions, which was unable to control in the way most people do, rather than by reason. Dr San said that anger management therapy with a psychologist could help the striker. She added that biting was “very infantile”. Suarez is also accused of picking up yellow cards regularly, and his tendency of diving into opponents had earned him criticism. Unsurprisingly, like Zidane, Suarez was given a warm welcome on his return home by his countrymen after his ouster. The recent event from the sporting world reminds us of a onetime star pugilist of our state, who also had disgraced himself a few months back. Such behavior from the sports stars shall not easily fade away from our memory.But one can always learn to reconcile.
Leader Writer: Senate Kh