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Zinedine Zidane Is Still Responsible For Football's Most Genius Penalty In His Final Game

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Zinedine Zidane Is Still Responsible For Football's Most Genius Penalty In His Final Game

Zinedine Zidane's Panenka penalty in the 2006 World Cup final could be the most underrated piece of skill in football history.

France took on Italy and Zidane had announced prior to the tournament he would be retiring that summer.

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As we're all aware by now, Zidane saw himself sent off for a shocking headbutt on Marco Materazzi and it ended his career on a bizarre note.

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But what doesn't get discussed enough is the pure artistry Zidane pulled off earlier in the game.

He became the fourth man to score a penalty in a World Cup final, doing so in style after seven minutes.

It wasn't just any Panenka he scored, however.

The former Real Madrid man completely fooled prime Gianluigi Buffon and saw his strike bounce in off the bar, without physically touching the net.

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It even bounced back out and the image of Buffon scrambling to catch it is unlike any other.

Zidane gave much more to that final than a headbutt and it's something fans have come to appreciate 15 years later.

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France's lead wouldn't last and it was Materazzi who equalised.

The game ended 1-1 after extra-time and Italy would go on to win 5-3 on penalties.

Materazzi revealed years later that he antagonised Zidane with a remark about his sister.

Per New Zealand Herald, the former Barcelona defender said: "I wasn't expecting it in that moment.

"I was lucky enough that the whole episode took me by surprise because if I had expected something like that to happen and had been ready for it, I'm sure both of us would have ended up being sent off.

"There had been a bit of contact between us in the area. He had scored France's goal in the first half and our coach (Marcello Lippi) told me to mark him. After that first brush between us, I apologised but he reacted badly.

"The late tackles, altercations and exchanges continued until 110 minutes, when things reached a head.

"After the third clash, I frowned and he retorted: 'I'll give you my shirt later'. I replied that I'd rather have his sister than his shirt."

Featured Image Credit: FIFA/YouTube

Topics: Football, Zinedine Zidane, France, Real Madrid

Daniel Marland
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