‘Clases de baile’ | Zidane’s dance class takes final turn

“His image is too pure. He is afraid to say what he is, that he is a beur [Parisian slang for Arab] like the rest of us. And to say the truth about what it is like to be an Arab in this society.” Other PSG supporters, Arab followers of “Mystic Tigris,” agree loudly that Zidane is an ad man’s dream, a triumph of style. “I support PSG because I am from Seine-Saint-Denis,” says Joey, a large black kid who looks as if he would be more at home in south central LA than in this cold, bleak stadium at the heart of one of the most bourgeois districts in Paris. “But I don’t care about Les Bleus, or Zidane. It’s not my tribe.”

Zidane, if healthy, will finish the season for Real Madrid and play at least three games at the World Cup. Any burdens on the man whose face lit the Arc de Triomphe on 12 July 1998 will likely cease to be known, and any questioning can be easily deflected, as he demurred when asked about the burdens of being the world’s best player.

It is an easy burden to carry, Zidane said, “because I don’t believe it.”

On May 8, L’Equipe honors two Frenchmen on the front page. El Mundo hosts an excellent photo essay on its website.


On May 7, Zidane played his last match at the Santiago Bernabéu for Real Madrid, scoring a headed goal and coming off with three minutes remaining. Madrid and Villareal tied 3–3. After the game, Zidane walked reluctantly to the center of the pitch for a five-minute ovation. Clad in an undershirt, having exchanged jerseys with Juan Román Riquelme, he looked fragile, almost birdlike. Writing in the Guardian, Sid Lowe takes it from there:

For all the ceremony, the banners and the scoreboard projections—which, by half-time had given way to credit cards and talking sausages—Zidane bowed out of Madrid Zidane-style. Timidly, awkwardly, humbly. Without a hint of arrogance. By scoring a goal in a magnificently open match (a goal which Raúl, desperate after a 16-game drought, very nearly took off him), by departing with three minutes left, almost embarrassedly applauding the fans as he left, and by waiting quietly, patiently in the tunnel to swap shirts…. Above all, by needing to be literally pushed back out on to the pitch, where David Beckham was still alone in the centre-circle applauding the fans, to receive a huge ovation before turning, head down, a tear in his eye, and departing the Bernabéu for the last time, slipping quietly away from the stadium without a word.

With the debut of the Zidane film approaching, Gary Younge, again in the Guardian, learns of filmmaker Douglas Gordon‘s affection for Albert Camus and of the relationship between existentialism and the Zidane oeuvre. Naturally there is the Algerian tie-in, but throughout the film Zidane’s comments, used as subtitles, reveal a football player “trying to make sense of his working life.” In conversations with Gordon and collaborator Philippe Parreno, born in Oran, Algeria, as with Camus and Zidane’s family, Zizou’s utterances show gnomic quality:

The game, the event, is not necessarily experienced or remembered in “real time.” My memories of games and events are fragmented. … I remember playing in another place, at another time, when something amazing happened. Someone passed the ball to me, and before even touching it, I knew exactly what was going to happen. I knew I was going to score. It was the first and last time it ever happened.

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5 comments on this post.
  1. Brian:

    Thanks for cueing that Champions League goal. It remains the greatest goal I’ve ever seen live. Nice homage to the greatest player I’ve ever seen.

  2. Liassine Talbi:

    People can be ungrateful. Zidane is a great footballer and great man. I am Algerian and I respect him for what he is. He is French and his father is Algerian. France is very lucky to have him. He has the right to choose what he is, and no one has the right to criticise him or impose on him. Thank you for everything, Zizou.

  3. Marcus:

    Merci, Zizou, for making football beautiful!

  4. hamida talbi:

    It’s true Zidane is [a] real man, but I would like to add just one [piece of] information. Zidane is not French. He was born in Algeria [sic] so he is Algerian. The advice that l can give to him is not to forget his origin. “Tell me from where you are, l will tell you who you are.”

    Thank you, Zidane, for being yourself.

  5. Bob:

    Wikipedia says that Zidane was born in Marseille:


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