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Galaxy should move to reunite Zidane with Beckham


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Galaxy should move to reunite Zidane with Beckham

Frank Dell'Apa, Special to ESPNsoccernet



The film "Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait" is an homage to Zinedine Zidane and has set a standard for defining his image, though it was completed before his sending off at the World Cup.

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Zinedine Zidane, right, with Ronaldo laced up for a United Nations charity game back in March.

In the film, 17 cameras focus on Zidane while he is playing for Real Madrid. Zidane is red-carded in this match, an April 23, 2005, game against Villareal at Estadio Bernabeu, and the final shot is of him leaving the field -- as it was in the World Cup final last year. But Zidane is so vibrant in this game that it makes you wish someone or something could persuade him to continue playing.

Fortunately, the MLS has made the effort to recruit Zizou. He would come at a high cost, and all sorts of MLS restrictions might have to be sidestepped, but having Zidane in an MLS uniform would kick up the league's credibility a few notches. It also would accelerate the competitive level.

The lasting impression of Zidane in this film is of his total immersion in the game, his intense concentration. Zidane, heavily miked, says very little during the contest, coaxing the ball to come to him with a few "ahis," but he is so zoned into the action that you get the idea Real Madrid players communicate by telepathy.

The film is less sports action than an avant garde look at one of the most accomplished and fascinating athletes of modern times. There have been few U.S. showings of "Zidane." It was screened at the Institute of Contemporary Art on Boston's waterfront May 6, and since New England Revolution midfielder Jeff Larentowicz happens to reside in South Boston, he was able to catch the show before playing against Chicago that night. The film works as a motivator, also, and it is easy to understand how hyped up Larentowicz must have been when he made a leaping, kung fu, two-footed stab to score off a corner kick against the Fire.

The filmmakers show only small bits of the actual game, but they allow the viewer to see it through Zidane's eyes or, rather, in Zidane's eyes. Most of the shots are of Zidane's face as he gazes intently at the swirling action. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, we gain a closer view of what makes Zidane tick, though the Algerian-French soul surely requires more than 90 minutes to understand.

Zidane is often in tandem with Roberto Carlos on the left side of the field, or up front near Ronaldo. Zidane seems completely in control of his emotions, but you realize he is seething inside like a volcano when he twice hisses "verguenza" at the referee while setting up for the kickoff after a Villareal penalty kick. Late in the match, Zidane makes an amazing run to the end line, followed by a sublime cross to the back post for a spectacularly headed tying goal by Ronaldo. After Real Madrid takes a 2-1 lead and has narrowly averted trouble on a set piece, Zidane lets his guard down briefly. Roberto Carlos actually gets Zidane to laugh. And it is a very bright moment, the image tying into the theme that Zidane is still playing the game he loved as a youngster.

There was also a very noticeable rapport between Zidane and David Beckham; there were quick exchanges, usually off free kicks, between the two players. When Zidane calls for "David" in one scene, his intention is unclear but it is clear by the way he pronounces "Da-veed" that he respects Beckham. And when Zidane is about to be sent off for confronting an opponent after a hard challenge on Ronaldo, he allows Beckham to place his hands on his shoulders and nudge him away from further trouble.

Reuniting Beckham and Zidane in Los Angeles could truly be a Hollywood ending, and I am not certain how it would work in real life. They might need Roberto Carlos to balance things out. And an extra set of accountants and lawyers to make the economics balance because now you are talking a Hollywood blockbuster budget. The MLS already has a Galaxy -- now it needs some Galacticos.

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Has anyone seen this movie? If it puts Zidane on the same kind of pedastal this article does then it must be artsy fartsy shizzite. And then as the sun cast its final piercing rays upon the steely glint in Lord Zidane the Prophet's eyes, he allowed the lowly Beckham to touch his shoulders and the crowd roared... for he was magnificent! These are just football players lets not get carried away here.

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