Guilty of a bad gesture during the group match against Saudi Arabia, Zinedine Zidane lived intensely the round of 16 against Paraguay, June 28, 1998. Before the deliverance offered by Laurent Blanc.
Zinedine Zidane can thank Laurent Blanc well. Because without Cévenol, author of the goal of the qualification against Paraguay, in the round of 16 of the 1998 World Cup, the career of what can claim the title of best player in the history of French football would undoubtedly have been all other. The tricolor playmaker would indeed undoubtedly been designated as the first person responsible for an elimination. The fault of his expulsion against Saudi Arabia after a new gesture of humor, the Turinese having wiped the crampons on the upper thigh of a Saudi defender.
Deschamps condemns him in the public square
The Turinese’s ears whistled from the final whistle of the match against the Saudis. “You have to know how to control your impulses. When we commit a regrettable act, we must expect to pay dearly for it”, thus regretted Aimé Jacquet, who had raised the subject the very morning of the match. Didier Deschamps was even more scathing. “Zinédine, it’s unforgivable, he launched at the microphone of TF1. We know he’s an impulsive player but hey, he’s going to condemn us in two or three games, I think he’s going to take them. Knowing the importance that Zidane has in our game, it is an important asset that we lose. And the tricolor captain to put on a layer of it by speaking of a “stupid reaction”.
Zidane mad with rage
In the end, the number 10 tricolor received two suspension matches. But even more than this sanction, it was the criticisms made by his teammates who branded the former Bordelais with a hot iron. “It’s more than a disappointment”he dropped in return, also ensuring that he was only “involuntarily fell on the Saudi”. It will also take many years for him to recognize his wrongs.
In trances on the bench
Annoyed, Zinedine Zidane has long walked his mask at Clairefontaine, especially the days preceding the shock against Paraguay. “We saw him arrive as locked in his sentence. In the locker room before training, he no longer smiled, not once., had confided Philippe Bergeroo about him. And this suppressed anger turned into rage on the fateful day.
Authorized by FIFA to follow the match from the bench, Zinedine Zidane is unrecognizable. In a trance, the tricolor midfielder saw the meeting like never before, expressing his feelings like never before. He curses at each failed action, ignites at the slightest opportunity and leaps onto the field after Laurent Blanc’s golden goal to tear up entire clods of lawn. What to leave Aimé Jacquet stunned: “He must have said to himself: ‘Now it’s up to me.'”