A poet with his feet

The magician from Marseille has bid adieu to the game he loved so dearly. Hailing from a humble background Zinedine Zidane conquered the hearts of football fans the world over with his sublime skills. I think he is the most gifted player ever to grace the game after the legendary Pele.

The French were crazy about him and even toddlers would murmur Allez Zizou. Even a Frenchman who would hide his handbag on seeing a North African man sit next to him in a public transport would shout "Allez Zizou tu es notre seul espoir" (Go Zidane you are our only hope) when he watched a match without realising how he treated other people of Zidane's origin in his day-to-day life.

Throughout his career, Zidane had to bear the brunt of racial remarks. His behaviour on the field doesn't justify his talent. In a career spanning 18 years he got 14 red cards, a reflection of his temper. His head-butting in his farewell match was not acceptable. After playing nearly two decades at the international level, a player of Zidane's calibre should have settled issues in a more civilised manner.

Anyway, thank you, Zizou, for showing us that poetry could be written with a pair of legs.

S. Asokan, Boulogne-Billancourt, France A big shock

The demotion of Italy's most successful soccer club Juventus to the second division, Serie B, along with former champions Fiorentina, and Lazio, is nothing but a big shock to every football lover. The Italian Sports Tribunal could have penalised the individuals related to the match-fixing scandal. This decision not only punishes the clubs, but also their supporters. The absence of the two Italian giants, Juventus and AC Milan, from the Champions League will disappoint all.

Shameek Mukherjee, Kolkata Shocking exclusion

The inexplicable exclusion of Anil Kumble and Robin Uthappa for the coming Sri Lanka triangular series is shocking. Kumble may be on the wrong side of the 30s, but he is constantly delivering the goods for India and that's what counts.

Youngster Robin Uthappa made 86 runs on his ODI debut and yet he does not find a place in the team. When a youngster who does so well at the highest level is dropped to accommodate players based on the "quota" system instead of the "quality" system, it will make a dent in his confidence.

Duke Jeyaraj, Hyderabad A Twenty20 Revolution

In history there was the French Revolution, in tennis there was a Russian Revolution and now in cricket it is a Twenty20 revolution. There was a time when the Packer series was condemned by the purists.

Then ODI cricket became popular and the World Cup was played for pride and prestige. Now a new variety of entertainment called Twenty20 has come on the scene. And it has become a craze with cricket lovers. This version will certainly change the outlook of Indian cricket from next year.

S. Bagawati Prasad, Chennai