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‘Why Zidane gave me headbutt’ – Materazzi opens up on 2006 World Cup saga

Eighteen years after winning the World Cup in Germany, Italy legend Marco Materazzi has opened up about the infamous headbutt with former Real Madrid player and manager, Zinédine Zidane....CONTINUE READING

With the game into extra time after a 1-1 scoreline at 90 minutes during the 2006 FIFA World Cup final between Italy and France, Zinedine headbutted Materazzi in the 110th minute after an argument between the pair.

Zidane saw red in what would be his last ever professional football game as a player.

Italy would go on to win the World Cup, winning 5-3 via a penalty shootout.

Reflecting on his career, Materazzi stated in an interview with The Times that the incident doesn’t do justice to what his career was.

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He said, “I don’t like it, because it doesn’t do justice to what my career was,” he says.

“That episode should never have happened. In the tension of that final in Berlin, amidst the bickering and insults, Zidane offered me his shirt, and I said no, that I preferred his sister. Then he turned around and reacted as everyone remembers. I never saw Zinédine again.”

Speaking further, he also reflected on the treble-winning team with Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan in 2010. He argued that if Jose Mourinho had stayed at the club, the winning streak would have continued.

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“He was, without a doubt. And despite everything, it wasn’t easy to accept my initial situation. I was used to being important, to being the captain, but with Mourinho, I started to lose prominence.

“However, he was honest with me from the very first moment, when he told me that I was going to be less involved. It was a pity we didn’t meet earlier.

“Sometimes words are superfluous and a simple hug explains everything,” he says. “We cried. That moment was tremendously emotional. I asked him why he was leaving. Why was he leaving me alone? I didn’t have a good relationship with the coach who was coming, Rafa Benítez, I didn’t like him.

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“I was convinced that with Mourinho, we could continue to win. Maybe not another Champions League, but other titles. But he had already made his decision to leave for Real Madrid.”

When asked to pick the best moment of his career between the 2006 World Cup and winning the Champions League in 2010, he said, “Do you prefer mum or dad? I can’t choose one over the other. They were without doubt the two best nights of my career.”