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Why Zinedine Zidane is a winner
by Zaven Aharonian / LaCancha.com

Have you ever played football?  Did you ever try to win a game? Hopefully you did. If not it is never too late. Zinedine
Zidane is a fierce competitor. He's there to win. But not by any cost. He wins by outsmarting and outplaying his opponent.
That's the weapon he chose - developing unprecedented, exceptional skills in  every aspect of the game and undefeatable
determination to win. He enjoyed playing by the rule and light up this world with his games to the millions.  Like Pele and
Garrincha, Eusebio and Bobby Charlton, Cruyff, Platini and Maradona, he played a better football for us.

He was open and clear in his intentions. He announced that this is his last  tournament. He was putting maximum effort in
every game steadily steering his team to the victory. He walked on the pitch one last time to lead his team to another victory
in a hope for a fair sports contest where better team wins, like he had done hundreds of times before.

He was provoked throughout the game. He was wrestled to the ground, tripped and tackled but never complained. He kept
playing, kept creating on the field, and kept playing his game.

An artist and an athlete. A gentleman. A man of honor. A man of dignity. A servant to his team, his country, his people, to the people of the world who love
and enjoy this game.

He served them as example on and off the field.  He always was and he is today more than ever backed by his country, by his president, by his people, by all
people who love and understand this game.  By everyone to whom Zinedine Zidane brought joy with his game regardless the  team you are cheering for or the
team he was playing for.

Football is very revealing sport. It shows the personality.You compete, you run, you push, you fall, you try to overcome, out- smart and outplay. You can be
injured. But only those who selflessly fight for every ball, who risk their heads, ankles and knees,win. There are no easy ways in  football. It's a tough sport.
But at the end there are smiles, hugs, consolation  words, exchanging shirts. There is true sportsmanship and good spirit behind  it. Something the children
learn along with the basics if the game. There is no animosity here. Somebody wins, somebody loses. And no one takes  the advantage of the other.

Tomorrow everything can change. There are, however, some jerks that use undercover tricks, dirty tackles, and hidden blows, verbally insult the opponent.
Those who choose to win by cheating, getting in through the back door. They avoid face to face encounters, they attack from behind, they dive. They do their
dirty tricks behind the referees back. These are the thieves, the jackals of football.  And it's a shame a sort of a player like that can find a place in the Italian
 national selection. In a team with the ranksof Rivera, Faccetti, Zoff, Rossi,  Maldini, Canavarro, Del Piero and Pirlo and many other distinguished players and
sportsmen.  No one should take insults from a jerk on the field., from somebody who covers the luck of footballing skill by an arsenal of dirty tricks.

I don't believe that Italian coach and the team were unaware of the true nature of  "skills" of Materazzi. How was it possible that the player of this sort and the
record he has could have made it to the Italian National team.  Does Italian team have such a low confidence that it needs a player to  provoke his opponent into
reacting in order to get a result? What a disgrace!  What a shame that this was done to one of the most brilliant players ever in  his final game. To a former
Juventus\ player with Marcello Lippi at the helm.  That very much could be the reason behind his immediate resignation.

This final is forever tarnished. I do not recognize Italy as a winner.

FIFA has now a serious task to put an end to verbal abuse and provocation of all sorts on the field and start getting to the root of the problem and not  just
scratching surface. The real troublemakers should be punished  harshly. The fair decision would be to suspend Materazzi from playing and strip Italian team
from the title. Punish Italian football federation for allowing this kind of player in a professional football team and moreover selecting him for a national team.

Regardless what FIFA decision would be there is no doubt in my mind that his career is over. No self respecting club will ever sign this player. I still  believe
that Italian national team will no longer tolerate such player in their ranks and he will be ejected. Neither will he play too long for his current club.

Amid the ongoing investigation, difficult times are ahead for both the player as well as the Italian Federation.  

He cast a shadow on worlds biggest sports event, he put in question the so called "victory" for millions of fans around the world. He turned into a  mess
what could have been a celebration of football, sportsmanship and friendship. And it's not the first time Italian football is in the mud.

Yes, Zidane did not lift the World Cup trophy this time despite the fact that he and his team deserved it by all accounts. I watched the replay with a pen
and a paper in hand, ball possession, shots on goal, game quality.

One team creates, plays football, enjoys and dominates; another destroys struggles and tries to survive. Advantage France, full advantage throughout the
second half and until the final whistle. Even having an extra player on the field Italy was dragging their feet to the penalty shoot out.

Was Zidane robbed of a glorious ending of his career by questionable episode and bad refereeing? I don't think so.

Football world voiced its opinion very clearly by voting Zinedine Zidane the best player of the World Cup 2006 at 34, by massive letters of support of
his action following his interview and explanation of what happened. He acted once again honestly, fairly and with dignity, apologizing for his act and
admitting he had no other ways to react and does not regret.

Zinedine Zidane! We are not blind or deaf, we have our own judgment. We watch, we hear, we understand, we forgive. You're cleared. That's our
verdict, our voice, people's voice.

He has nothing to prove. His place in football history is secured. His greatness is indisputable!  He served this game too well and too long to be judged
through an unfortunate episode.

There are moments in life when your dignity, your honor is on the line. Nothing else matters. He acted like a man, and he left like a man. He left football
being the best and he left the World Cup undefeated.

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