Materazzi comes clean on Zidane headbutt: 'I spoke about his sister'
It took 10 years, but Marco Materazzi has finally put the speculation to rest.
The former Italian defender was, infamously, on the receiving end of a headbutt to the chest from French icon Zinedine Zidane in the 2006 World Cup final, the latter being shown a red card in extra time for the outburst. The Azzurri went on to capture the title on penalties.
Now, on the 10-year anniversary of one of the World Cup's most memorable moments, Materazzi has come clean on what he uttered to provoke the current Real Madrid manager.
"I decided to write a book about it because everyone kept asking me what I said to Zidane to get such a reaction," he said in an interview with L'Equipe.
"What I said was really stupid, but my words didn't warrant such a reaction. In any neighbourhood - in Rome, Naples, Turin, Milan or Paris, you hear far worse things ...
"What I said was in reference to his sister, not his mother, like I have read in some newspapers. My mother died when I was a teenager, when I was 15, so I would never have stooped as low as to insult his mother."
Materazzi, who would go on to score one of Italy's five successful penalties in the 5-3 shootout triumph, continued: "I have never understood why that incident reached such levels of notoriety. The only thing I want to remember from that day were my goals.
"Sometimes, in Italy, I meet fans on the street and they say to me: 'Marco, you did well giving him that headbutt!'
"And it makes me angry because ... I was the one who was on the receiving end! But it shows just how strange it is that the story has been told and altered. It's no big deal, I don't resent it, and I never will."
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