Marco Materazzi has maintained his silence about what happened and what was said in the incident with Zinedine Zidane in the 2006 World Cup final, he has now given his version of the event.
Zidane had put France 1-0 up with an incredible Panenka penalty before Materazzi equalised for Italy before half-time.
With the scores still level after 90 minutes, the game entered extra-time – which is when the two goalscorers clashed.
Zidane and Materazzi were seen in conversation before the Frenchman took a step forward and planted his head onto the defender’s chest. After consultation with off-field officials, Zidane was shown a red card in his final game as a professional footballer.
Italy eventually won the final on penalties but everyone wanted to know what exactly Materazzi had said to spark Zidane’s reaction.
At first, reports claimed Materazzi had insulted Zidane’s mother. However, comments from the player years later denied that – conceded that he spoke about his sister.
“My mother died when I was 15, I would never have insulted his,” Materazzi said in 2017. “I spoke about his sister.”
Well, 14 years on, Materazzi has finally explained exactly what he spoke to Zidane.
Quoted by the likes of AS, Le Parisien and Football Italia, Materazzi was answering questions on Instagram earlier this week, and the Zidane headbutt cropped up.
“Zidane’s headbutt? I wasn’t expecting it in that moment. I was lucky enough that the whole episode took me by surprise because if I had expected something like that to happen and had been ready for it, I’m sure both of us would have ended up being sent off,” the defender explained.
“There had been a bit of contact between us in the area. He had scored France’s goal in the first half and our coach (Marcello Lippi) told me to mark him. After that first brush between us, I apologised but he reacted badly,” Materazzi recalled.
“The late tackles, altercations and exchanges continued until 110 minutes, when things reached a head.
“After the third clash, I frowned and he retorted: ‘I’ll give you my shirt later’. I replied that I’d rather have his sister than his shirt.
This made Zidane to lose his cool and shove his head straight into Materazzi’s chest. And It was the last thing the midfielder ever did on a football pitch.