Former Inter Milan and Italy defender Marco Materazzi recounted what he said to Zinedine Zidane of France in the World Cup final, after which Zidane hit him in the chest with his famous head. The French lost the final and that was the end of Zidane’s playing career
July 9, 2006. That day went down in soccer history not only in the fact of the final of the 18th World Cup, when France and Italy clashed.
It is also the day and the very match when Zinedine Zidane, captain of the Tricolor, ended his professional career in 110 minutes of extra time by headbutting Scuadra Azzurra defender Marco Materazzi.
Zizou, who had managed to score in regulation time, was sent off, and the remaining minutes were tied at 1-1, but the Italians were accurate in all five of their penalties. The French didn’t need their fifth, as David Trezeguet had previously stuck the ball into the crossbar instead of the net.
- The world was then divided between those who said Zidane had let the team down and those who called him a real man. Into those who accused Materazzi of being mean, and those who sided with the defender (Jose Mourinho’s favorite) because he competently worked for the team.
On May 3, during a live broadcast on his Instagram, Materazzi finally revealed what he then said to his opponent, after which he lost his temper and snapped.
“Zidane’s kick? I didn’t expect it. I was lucky that it took me by surprise, because if I had expected and prepared for something like that, I’m sure we would have both been sent off,” the Italian said. – We clashed a few times in the penalty box. He scored in the first half and the coach asked me to watch his back. After our first clash, I apologized, but he didn’t react well.
- After our third scuffle, I got angry and he said he would give me his jersey after the match. I replied that I preferred his sister to his jersey.
What happened next, the whole world knows. And, by the way, Zidane, no matter how many years have passed since that episode, although he does not like to remember it, has never publicly repented of what he did.
And the impact of that action on the outcome is debatable. Yes, France were left for the last ten minutes of extra time in the minority and without their best player, but even with him for 110 minutes of the game the scoreboard was even.
Of course, Zidane would have taken the penalty kick, but would it have affected the result? And how? And if he had been listed fifth? Quite possibly, it would never have come to him.
Largely because of this kind of reasoning, the episode went down in history, regardless of the outcome of the final. Surely all soccer fans have seen the famous picture of Zizou headbutting Materazzi in the chest before. Or the picture of the brutal Frenchman of Algerian origin walking to the locker room after the removal past the World Cup standing on the exit from the corridor…
This is not the first time Materazzi himself talks about what happened in the final match against France.
- At one time, the Italian defender even published a mock book entitled “What did I really said to Zidane?”, presenting 250 different versions of the phrase. Naturally, with humor.
But he told the real truth on the tenth anniversary of the final, telling the French L’Equipe (he refused interviews with other publications at the time), that he really hurt Zidane’s sister, and the phrase sounded even harsher than Marco presented it on May 3 this year.
“If you like my jersey so much, I’ll give it to you after the match,” were Zidane’s words, to which the defender replied, “I prefer your whore sister.”
“What I said was very silly. But it wouldn’t necessarily have caused that reaction elsewhere. In Rome, Naples, Turin, Milan or Paris you hear things much worse,” the Italian said in the same interview.
- In addition, Materazzi then denied the numerous rumors that he had allegedly hurt his opponent’s mother. The defender recalled that he himself lost his mother at the age of 15 and would never allow himself such insults.
Although the Inter defender, who has won everything in his career, is famous all over the world for the clash and the punch on the chest that Zidane received, he himself remembers the 2006 FIFA World Cup because of other things.
So, Marco scored his first goal at the tournament back in the group stage in the very first match. He also distinguished himself in the final. First it was Materazzi who scored with a header after a corner kick in the 19th minute, answering to Zidane’s goal from the penalty spot in the seventh, and then he realized Italy’s second penalty-kick of the final 11 meters, becoming the champion of the world as a result.
- But although the Italians won the gold medals of the World Cup, the tournament’s Ballon d’Or went to Zidane, who carried the three colors and scored three goals in the playoffs.