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Rediff.com  » Sports » Head butt hasn't affected Zidane's popularity

Head butt hasn't affected Zidane's popularity

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Last updated on: September 22, 2006 19:49 IST
Giving someone a head butt can make you unpopular. But, only if you aren't a celebrated soccer hero.

As retired French captain Zinedine Zidane has now come to realise, ramming the chest of Italian defender Marco Materazzi at the 2006 World Cup final hasn't turned public opinion against him. To the contrary, it has made him more popular than ever before.

And the advertising fraternity has been quick to take note.

It explains why, for instance, an ad for a beer company shows a Zidane look-alike leaning his head against a wall, a bottle of beer against his temple, with the slogan 'Cool off.'

Clearly, bad publicity can always be relied on to create a world of good.

Like most successful sportsmen worldwide, Zidane has always earned a lot through endorsements. His revenues have soared following the infamous head butt though, with his countrymen more than ready to forgive him, and his act now being described as 'profoundly human.'

Thanks to a worldwide audience of billions analysing the much-televised act, Zidane is also more recognised than ever before -- and that can't hurt any product that attaches itself to his blue jersey.

It has been a little over two months since soccer fever subsided, but few have forgotten. France lost the game, but captain Zidane was still voted the country's favourite personality in a recent newspaper poll. His head butt has led to a hit song; it has been printed on T-shirts; there are web sites still broadcasting the clip; and what would normally be looked at as bad behaviour has inexplicably turned into an outpouring of goodwill!

Analysts believe Zidane made it only because of the respect he earned as a player, over the years. A day after the match, official World Cup sponsor Adidas carried a full-page newspaper ad featuring Zidane and a bold 'Thank you.' He continues to tour the world, raking in millions for himself and those who sign him on.

Photograph: Getty Images

Also read:
- Why, Zidane? Why?
- The scarred French messiah
- 'You are a genius of world football'
- Materazzi reveals details of Zidane exchange
- Zidane and Materazzi banned and fined over head-butt
- Zidane's head-butt inspires summer song
External link:
Game: Zidane vs Materazzi

rediff Sports Bureau
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