Marco Materazzi: ‘That episode with Zidane should never have happened’


Former Inter and Italy defender Marco Materazzi admits that he still carries some resentment over the infamous World Cup final headbutt incident involving Zinedine Zidane. Speaking with The Times, the 50-year-old former centre-back touched on the 2006 incident that saw Zidane set off, and Italy lift the trophy, saying he is still not happy with the way things played out:

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

“Playing friendlies with my former Inter teammates? Sharing the pitch again with people like Julio Cesar, Maicon, Zanetti, Lucio, Sneijder, Cambiasso, Figo or Diego Milito is a mixture of happiness and nostalgia. What I miss most, more than competing, is the dressing room. That feeling of having a family outside your own, people you live with every day and with whom you share absolutely everything.”

“Was Mourinho the best coach I worked with? 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. 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.”


Serie A obsessive.