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SOCCER NOTES

Zidane Draws 3-Game Penalty

July 21, 2006|From Times Wire Reports

Zinedine Zidane was banned by FIFA for three games Thursday for head-butting Italy defender Marco Materazzi during the World Cup final.

Materazzi was suspended for two matches.

World soccer's governing body also fined Zidane $6,000 and Materazzi $4,000 after a disciplinary committee heard the former France captain's account of what led to the incident.

Because Zidane has retired, he agreed to do three days of community service with children as part of FIFA's humanitarian projects.

Zidane has said he attacked Materazzi because he insulted his mother and sister. Materazzi denied insulting Zidane's mother.

"Both players stressed that Materazzi's comments had been defamatory but not of a racist nature," FIFA said in a statement.

The players apologized to FIFA for "their inappropriate behavior and expressed their regret at the incident," FIFA said.

Zidane was sent off for ramming Materazzi in the chest with his head during the final, played July 9 in Berlin.

Zidane, who had already submitted written testimony, spent about 90 minutes in a private hearing Thursday morning before a five-man FIFA committee. Materazzi appeared before the FIFA panel last week.

In a French television appearance last week, Zidane apologized to children who watched the match, but said he didn't regret his actions because he was provoked by repeated harsh insults about his family.

Zidane and Materazzi exchanged words as the two walked up field in extra time. Zidane appeared to be distancing himself from the Italian, but then turned, lowered his bald head, and drove it into Materazzi's chest. Zidane was ejected.

Italy won on penalty kicks after a 1-1 extra-time draw.

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Real Madrid agreed to sign Italy's World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro and Brazil midfielder Emerson from Juventus, less than a week after the Italian team was demoted following a match-fixing inquiry.

The players will link up with former Juventus manager Fabio Capello, who quit the Turin-based club July 4 for a second stint in the Spanish capital. Madrid is rebuilding after failing to win a trophy in three seasons, its worst run in 53 years.

Cadena Ser radio said Real Madrid would pay about $25.2 million for Cannavaro and Emerson.

A sports tribunal ruled July 14 that Juventus should be demoted to the second-tier Serie B and begin the season with a 30-point handicap. Juventus is appealing the points penalty.

The 32-year-old Cannavaro was voted the second-best player at the World Cup by journalists. The center-back played his 100th international game in the final against France on July 9.

Emerson, used as a defensive midfielder by Brazil and Juventus, will play for a third club under Capello, who also brought the 30-year-old to Juventus from his former club Roma.

The pair will become Real's first acquisitions since Roman Calderon was elected president July 2 and pledged to revive soccer's richest team.

The record nine-time European champion, which has players including David Beckham and Ronaldo on its roster, had a bid for Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy rejected this week.

It has also been linked in newspaper reports with Chelsea winger Arjen Robben and Arsenal defender Ashley Cole.

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