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Zen and the art of the chipped assist
on 24 February 2009
It's not surprising that this video divides opinion. For those expecting a biodoc of Zidane, or a highlights sequence it could come across as about as welcome as watching paint dry, but for the football/sports fanatic this DVD gives a unique insight into a day at the office for a world superstar. As Zidane admits, he'd have liked to have played the game of his life but, to quote from the film,`magic is sometimes very close to nothing at all.'
For a large part of this game Zidane's magic is kept under wraps, but one of the most notable features is his almost zen-like concentration as he stalks the pitch waiting to explode into action. For the football fan one of the major revelations is just how little communication there is between Zidane and his teammates - even after a goal little is said - he spends large stretches of the match completely silent, with the occasional furrowed brow or shake of the head to indicate displeasure, with a couple of words to the referee when he awards a dubious penalty.
Then, like a big cat sensing a kill, he's off, racing past a defender to deliver a perfectly weighted, chipped cross to the head of Ronaldo and the match is all square. Almost imperceptibly, the tempo of the game increases and Zidane gets more involved. Real go into the lead and the tension seems to drop. Roberto Carlos makes a quip and Zidane's impassive features break into a beaming smile, but it's as if the cap he's been keeping on his emotions is released and, when a fellow player is fouled he steams in - suddenly displaying the burst of rage that exploded in the World Cup final - and his game is over.
Like he says, it would have been good to have given a stellar performance, but as an intimate record of what it's like to play in the cauldron of the Bernabeu, it's worth watching.