It was meant to be his finest hour. The New York Times might have spoken too soon when it described Zidane as the "coolest" footballer in the world. It was just his cool that was lost when provoked by sly fox Materazzi - because no one head-butts in this manner for no reason at all. It's a pity that a man destined to become legend had to bid his farewell in such a manner - seeing red in the extra time of a world cup final. He should have known better. I hope it will not diminuish the magic of Zizou, that it will not tarnish all the good that he has brought to football. I hope that this momentary lapse of reason will be seen as just that.
On the other hand complimenti to the azzurri. Winning by penalties is not exactly top of the supporter's wish list. I remember not enjoying Brazil's 1994 victory as much as I had hoped. The World Cup has been won by intelligent and cynical football. Both teams in the final got there with a bit of intelligent playing - the European chess game. True, there were moments of flash genius like Pirlo's blind pass to Grosso or Zidane's conjuring tricks, but in the end you would have to be blind to think that the beautiful game is back.
This is not an epitaph. It is just a rationalisation of what has been. I do think that the cup has been lifted by the team that deserved to win it. But the chasm between "deserve" and "beautiful football" is growing. I hope it gets filled before it gets too late.
Tomorrow is another day - from celebration to punishment. We shall see - and we are not hoping for any amnesties. Let's just hope that like Zidane's ugly head-butt and like too many matches ending in penalties, Juventus' dark moment will soon be forgotten - to be dismissed sometime in the future as a momentary lapse of reason.