NEW YORK – The head-butt: It's the new butt of Internet jokes.
As swiftly as a speeding shot on goal, riffs on Zinedine Zidane's infamous moment of soccer rage have invaded cyberspace.
Though fans across the world are clearly divided on whether the French star deserves condemnation or sympathy for head-butting an Italian opponent in the World Cup final, the Web has been typically merciless.
Some jokes take the form of interactive games.
Wondering, for example, how many Marco Materazzis YOU could knock down with a single butt to the chest?
AddictingGames.com's "Zidane Head Butt Game" gives you the chance: Just a left click of the mouse, and the Zidane figure goes to work against a sea of Italian defenders. The game gives you a red-card score at the end.
On Wednesday afternoon, the most viewed video on YouTube.com, the popular site for user-posted videos, was "A New Way to Solve Problems," from Austria, in which a succession of a dozen or so innocent street encounters culminate in — you guessed it, the head-butt.
Example: a tourist with a map asks a bicyclist for directions. The bicyclist gets off to help, but can't. "You don't know?" the suddenly angry tourist exclaims. THWAK! A header to the chest.
Just under 600,000 people had viewed the video by late Wednesday, and many added comments supportive of Zidane.
So did the video's makers: "We are not against Zidane, he is still the best. ok!!"
Also on the site: a video where instead of simply collapsing after the head-butt, Materazzi erupts in flames, too.
Zidane made his first public comments about the head-butt felt 'round the world in an interview Wednesday on French TV.
He offered repeated apologies — especially to children who watched it — but not regrets, saying Materazzi had made cruel insults to his mother and sister.
It might be some comfort to Zidane fans that the French star isn't the only one being mocked.
Another video circulating widely the past few days is actually from 2004.
In an ad for Britain's Guardian newspaper, a fictitious soccer team — dubbed Italy's, by the various users who've posted it to YouTube — is practicing for the Euro 2004 championships.
But what are they practicing? Tumbling to the ground in exaggerated agony, clutching themselves and gesturing for the referee to take notice.