Best Goalkeeper Persona discusses Greek Tragedy and Zinedine Zidane

Adriano Patrick 4th alterview about gods and signs on the pitch, and can Zidane’s headbutt in the 2006 World Cup be considered a tragic moment

Best Goalkeeper in the world Adriano Patrick, welcome back to The Sewers! You’ve been missed.

Hello, thank you very much, I don’t know in what way you say this, but it’s very good, thank you.

How have you been?

Very good, right now I’m reading a tragedy.


Yes, Iphigenia in Tauris, a real Greek tragedy.

Oh, cool. Do you often read this kind of literature?

Well no, I think not a lot of people read this very often, because you need time to think about it. It’s not good if you just read it and not think about it.

Right, so what do you make of it?

I think to myself, what is more wrong? To plan to kill your daughter? To actually kill your husband? Or to kill your own mother?

That’s some heavy stuff to think about.

Yes, but the tragedy doesn’t really want you to think about it. It’s not the intention of the tragedy, but I still think about it. I think in other versions Agamemnon really does kill his daughter, Iphigenia, but in this one I’m reading he doesn’t, because the gods save her. And that’s what a tragedy is about: how the gods steer the world.

But what about the humans? And their choices and everything?

Maybe they’re embodying the order that the gods try to preserve, and the gods interfere only when this order is very disturbed. On the other hand, the gods in Greek Mythology sometimes just do whatever they want, good and bad together, so it’s hard to understand sometimes. Sometimes the gods just save a person because they like that person. Is that justice?

Some would say the actual gods of all these stories are humans.

How do you mean?

In the sense that these plots were written by humans.

Oh of course, but you can’t look at things like that when you think about a tragedy, just like you can’t look at other things when you watch a football match.  You can’t use rules from the outside when you watch a match, because then you won’t understand it. It’s a world, a sphere. To look at a tragedy as something that someone just wrote one day is like looking at football as just people playing a ball, without seeing the entire ninety minutes as a whole, as a story that is part of a mythology of other stories.

Who would be the tragic character in a match? The player who missed a shot or the goalkeeper who missed a save?

None of them, that’s not a tragedy, that’s the game, that’s life. There aren’t a lot of tragedies in football, they’re more rare than people think. But when they happen they happen. The best example I think about right now is Zidane’s last match in the 2006 world cup. Of course everyone was watching this match as his last match, this was very meaningful for him and for everyone –

Oh yeah that’s the match he hit that player who said something about his sister –

Yes, Materazzi, I remember when I saw it I immediately thought that this is tragic. Not tragic because it’s his last match, not tragic because it was bad behavior, it was tragic because it was a choice made with emotion. It was tragic because we all thought about Zidane’s last match and we all thought that Zidane is also thinking about his last match. And of course he thought about all the people thinking this is his last match. He was aware of everything and still, he did what he did. It was a moment when even the people who most rebuked him must think about how much regret he felt at that moment. And for that moment in time he was really what you call a tragic character.

Like Oedipus who was aware of his curse but still carried out the atrocities he had set out to avoid?

In some way, yes.  That is what I call an emotional choice. A choice that you are aware that you make, but still, you don’t make it for the reasons you wanted to make it. And then you can regret it but you can also not regret it. What is tragic is the act of making a choice, that moment, that jump. And that’s what everyone saw Zidane do. So this was a tragic moment, but I won’t call it a tragedy.

Why not?

Because when he left the pitch it was clear that no god was there to save him and no god was there to curse him. When he left the pitch, he was just a man.

I thought that what’s made that moment so memorable and tragic.

No, it’s not tragic, it was just a man who fell under pressure and rage and emotion. It is remembered because it was very simple and familiar, like a woman crying on her wedding day. But there was a moment that was tragic, the moment of awareness and choice.

Would it have been tragic if he was to end his football career with that?

No, it still won’t be tragic.

Do you have tragic moments on the pitch?

I don’t think so, my choices are instinct choices, and that’s why they can never be tragic. And cannot be interfered with. Real tragedy is a thing that is rare. It happens to people that the gods look at, and they don’t look at a lot of people.

When you say gods…

I don’t know what I mean when I say gods. Maybe fate. When you feel sometimes that things are happening as part of something, or because you thought about them. Like coincidences, like signs. I think for most people it’s superstitions, but for some people it is different, and they are the people that can have tragic moments.

So you’re saying it’s actually more of an objective reality than a subjective one?

I don’t know, it’s things that we don’t know.

Would you say you’re a superstitious man?

A lot less than others! I have my rituals before a match like everyone, but not more than anyone else.

Like what?

It’s not things to talk about.

Of course. Well I hope you visit The Sewers again before you take off to Brazil this summer.

Yes, it is possible.

We thank you and congratulate you here and now.

Thank you. Saying this is also a ritual, and it is very good.

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