We’re in the heart of the World Cup, and I’m busy distracting myself from the US-Ghana match going on right now. So I thought I’d track down some info on bald footballers starting with a modern legend.
I first heard of “Zizou” in the run up to the 1998 World Cup. He was to lead France’s golden generation to football glory… and then he promptly stamped on an opponent earning a red card and a two match suspension.
“What a bum,” I thought… and then I saw him own Brazil in the final… And then I saw him own Euro 2000… And then I saw him own the 2001 Champion’s League final. His volley against Leverkusen is perhaps the single greatest strike I have ever seen.
“Perhaps he’s not a bum.” Every player can have a moment, I suppose, and in Zizou’s case the moments are far out weighed by the class.
It doesn’t hurt that he’s bald, either, because a bald athlete has a special appeal. Athletes are so often exemplars of the human body, stunning combinations of speed, strength and agility. To see a bald athlete is to be reminded that he is human, that in most regards he is just like me.
And more than that, a bald athlete is more often than not one who has stood the test of time. A 24 year-old should be at his peak physically. But a 34 year-old – as Zizou will be tomorrow – must also be at his peak mentally.
We may have seen the last of Zidane. He is suspended for tomorrow’s match against Togo and has announced his full retirement upon the completion of the Cup. If for no other reason I hope France advance… just so I can see Zizou one more time.
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