Zidane’s melancholy (New Formations 62, Autumn 2007)

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Format: Article

Publication date: December 1, 2007

Jean-Philippe Toussaint

This essay considers the infamous altercations during extra time at the 2006 World Cup Final in Berlin, when Zinedine Zidane headbutted Marco Materazzi. The author identifies similarities between Zidane’s action and a calligrapher’s stroke, and refers to Sigmund Freud, Gaston Bachelard, Jean Starobinski and one of his own novels to support this. Toussaint suggests that Zidane possesses a sense of existential melancholy and artistic impotence, and argues (alluding to Zeno) that Zidane’s act ultimately did not take place.

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