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Zindane’s Headbutt refers to an altercation between French soccer player Zinedine Zidane and Italian soccer player Marco Materazzi in which Zidane violently headbutted Materazzi in the face.
The World Cup Final
On July 9th, 2006, the World Cup Final was played at the Olympiastadion at Berlin Germany. For the magnitude of the event the stadium was at its top capacity, the match was viewed by 69,000 and was broadcasted to all the world. Excerpt from a report by Bloomberg:
“An average of 260 million people tuned in to see Italy claim its fourth title after winning 5-3 in a penalty shootout. More than 600 million viewers watched some part of the Berlin match.”
Nonetheless the FIFA claims that the final was seen by a billion people making this the most watched event on TV history, this number or any by that matter is very polemical and has been broadly discussed.
What is clear is that the FIFA World Cup Final is the most followed sports event of the world since soccer or football is the most popular game on the planet. And the World Cup is the most prestigious event of the game.
Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt
In 2006 Zinedine Zidane was the most popular player in what was the champion team: France. He was extremely popular in Europe since he played not only in the French national team, but also in the Spanish soccer club Real Madrid. Zidane was the most famous soccer player by that time. His popularity and notoriety was massive and it was even bigger by the time when France managed to get in the final game of the World Cup.
Zidane had the responsibility of taking his team to a second championship in 2006 against the also powerful and famous selection of Italy. The game watched by millions of people followed Zidane closely.
The regular time ended at 1-1, sending the game to overtime. At one point Zidane was followed by Italian defender Marco Materazzi, who provoked Zidane with insulting words. Zidane rammed his head against Materazzi’s chest knocking him down. Zidane was immediately expelled of the field, leaving France without his best player and with only 10 players. Italy won the final in shootouts.
Because of the popularity of not only the World Cup, but also the specific match and the players, millions were exposed to the event all at once.
Worldwide, mentions, re-enactments, and parodies were created by the mainstream media and also through the internet. The appeal of the incident was not primarily due to Materazzi being hit, but that the most famous player in the world lost his temper at, what could be the height of his career; during the extra time of a World Cup Final.
Zidane promised that this match was going to be the final of his career, since he had accomplished everything that a soccer player could achieve, except for the promise of a second World Cup. It was a shame that he had to leave the game with such a low blow. Watching one of the great players of all time behaving like this made the moment infamously and instantly recognizable by the millions of people through the world who had witnessed it.
A shot waking by the World Cup:
The news of Zidane’s headbutt reached far and wide, and the creation of edited GIF’s were not far behind.
On July 13th, 2006, The Register showcased a group of animated GIFs of the incident, “as seen by” various countries.
The image was especially popular on Somethingawful.com where the Zidane photoshop thread made it’s way to the Comedy Goldmine.
To browse other memes based on replay footage of various football matches, check out the following entries:
- KYMdb – Diouf Trips
- KYMdb – Peter Crouch Can Do Anything
- KYMdb – Robert Green FAIL
- KYMdb – Arjen Robben Ball
- KYMdb – De Jong’s Kick
- KYMdb – Muteba Kidaba’s Dance