7/10/2006

"Never do that again!"


France's President Jacques Chirac speaks with France national soccer team captain Zinedine Zidane (L) at the Elysee Palace in Paris July 10, 2006. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer (FRANCE)

BERLIN, July 10 (NYTIMES)- While Italy welcomed home its triumphant World Cup champions on Monday, France awaited a full explanation of why its national team captain, Zin├ędine Zidane, head-butted an opponent in the chest and was ejected from Sunday’s championship match here.

Zidane has yet to say anything publicly about the incident. But family members, in telephone interviews, said they believed the Italian defender Marco Materazzi had called Zidane, the son of Algerian immigrants, a “terrorist.”

“We think he either called him a terrorist or a son of Harkis,’’ said Mokhtar Haddad, one of Zidane’s cousins, who with friends and family studied the pivotal scene on a big screen in the family’s home village Aguemoune, 160 miles east of Algiers.

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