In the unexpected clash between a French anti-immigration politician and a sports hero whose parents emigrated to France, the end result was clear: Zemmour 0 – Zidane 1.
A week before the first round of the French presidential election, the far-right candidate was given a red card and expelled as he presented himself for a kick at the five-a-side football club Z5 d ‘Aix-en-La Provence set up by former French international Zinedine Zidane.
Eric Zemmour wearing a smart new kit including pristine knee-high socks, had barely touched the ball when Zidane’s brother Noureddine, who runs the sports centre, whistled.
“Get them out of here. All of them,” Zidane said.
As club staff tried to clear the pitch, Zemmour told accompanying camera crews: “I don’t know what’s going on, we’re playing well, it’s great,” he said. , adding: “We rented the stadium”.
A film of the swap shows staff promising to repay the €160 fee paid by an anonymous member of Zemmour’s political team, campaigning under the slogan ‘Reconquest’ to rent the pitch for two hours.
“We are not allowed to play here? Well, that says it all,” Zemmour added before leaving.
Noureddine Zidane reportedly defended his decision saying Zemmour was not candid or warned them that he was coming with a handful of media and that the sports center did not want his image associated with the far-right candidate .
“You see, in France there are not only no-go zones, but also no-go zones for football,” Zemmour told La Provence newspaper.
Earlier Zemmour had made an impromptu visit to a flea market in northern Marseille, home to a large immigrant population, the candidate was booed after suggesting the vendors were ‘mostly illegal’ and should be ‘sent home’ “. Zemmour was also asked by the local church authorities not to hold a press conference in front of the Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica which overlooks the city.
“Marseille is shattered by immigration… if we do nothing, the whole of France will be like Marseille, a city drowned by immigration and partly Islamized,” he told reporters.
Some French media have wondered if Zemmour wanted to be provocative. “By going to a sports complex run by the brother of Zinedine Zidane, was Eric Zemmour trying to create a buzz? wondered the newspaper Le Parisien.
Zemmour stands on an anti-immigration platform and wants to set up a Ministry of Remigration to expel 1 million “foreigners” from France.
Zinedine Zidane, nicknamed “Zizou”, was born in Marseille, the youngest of five siblings of Algerian parents who emigrated to Paris in 1953. He is an extremely popular figure in France where he won 108 caps and led the country to victory in 1998. World Cup, which earned him the Legion of Honor. He was also awarded the Golden Ball for player of the tournament in the 2006 World Cup won by Italy after a penalty shootout, although he was sent off in the final for an unusual outburst in which he headbutted Marco Materazzi in the chest past the Italian player. insulted his sister.
Considered by some to be one of the greatest footballers of all time, Zidane is now a football coach.