The historic head-butt that marked the end of France great Zinedine Zidane’s international career is now more than just a memory. A 5m-high bronze statue portraying Zidane aiming his shaven head at Italian opponent Marco Materazzi’s torso has been erected in front of Paris’ Centre Pompidou modern art museum. Zidane lit up the field playing for Real Madrid and other professional teams and helped France to victory at the 1998 World Cup, but in the 110th minute of a riveting World Cup final in 2006 against Italy, Zidane lowered his head and rammed Materazzi’s chest, knocking him to the ground. Zidane, who had been planning to retire after the World Cup, later apologized to viewers and said he was responding to repeated insults.
Violence stops match
The 2018 World Cup hosts were grappling yesterday with a new soccer hooliganism scandal after the unruly behavior of fans who threw fireworks on the pitch forced the abandonment of a top-flight cup match. The referee called off a fourth-round Russia Cup match between Dinamo Moscow and their local rivals Torpedo Moscow in the 51st minute amid chaotic scenes, with parts of the pitch blanketed in smoke and fireworks crackling on the turf. Police said in a statement that 20 fans were arrested as fights broke out between rival fan groups on the streets around the stadium before the match late on Wednesday. Another six were arrested after the match was stopped.
MacKenzie demands apology
The former editor of British tabloid the Sun who blamed Liverpool fans for causing the 1989 Hillsborough disaster on Wednesday revealed he was demanding an apology from police. The Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid caused outrage when then-editor Kelvin MacKenzie ran a front-page story headlined “The Truth,” together with false claims that supporters picked the pockets of victims and urinated on police. MacKenzie wrote in the Spectator magazine that he suffered “personal vilification for decades” after running the story based on accounts given by South Yorkshire Police sources. A report by the Hillsborough Independent Panel published this month exposed a police cover-up and cleared Liverpool supporters of blame for the tragedy in which 96 fans died. Sue Roberts, secretary of the Hillsborough Families Support Group, said: “The gall of that man to paint himself as a victim and for him to ask anybody for an apology — it beggars belief.”
Rangers beat Motherwell 2-0
Third Division Rangers showed they may have dropped out of the elite league, but are still a match for the teams in it as they eased to a 2-0 win over Scottish Premier League (SPL) leaders Motherwell 2-0 in their League Cup third-round match at Ibrox. Motherwell had been the last SPL side to visit Ibrox when they played out a goalless draw in the final game of last season, before the Rangers were denied entry to the SPL and voted into the Scottish Football League in the summer. Despite having not won at Ibrox since May 1997, Stuart McCall’s side arrived in Glasgow as favorites after impressing with their performances on their way to the top of the SPL. However, Motherwell were on the back foot from the start and captain Lee McCulloch headed the ’Gers into a deserved 49th-minute lead, before Dean Shiels volleyed home a fine second just seven minutes later to make a mockery of their lowly league status.