Why Zidane gave me headbutt: Materazzi opens up on 2006 World Cup saga

Marco Materazzi, the renowned Italian footballer, has just revealed details concerning the notorious headbutt incident involving Zinédine Zidane, the former player and manager of Real Madrid, which occurred eighteen years after Italy’s World Cup victory in Germany.



In the 2006 FIFA World Cup final between Italy and France, the game went into extra time with a scoreline of 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes. In the 110th minute, Zinedine headbutted Materazzi following a dispute between the two players.



Zidane was shown a red card in his final match as a professional football player.


Italy emerged as the victors of the World Cup, triumphing over their opponents with a score of 5-3 in a penalty shootout.


In an interview with The Times, Materazzi reflected on his career and expressed that the episode fails to accurately represent the true nature of his professional accomplishments.


He expressed his dissatisfaction, stating that the representation of his career was inadequate.


“That episode should have been avoided.” During the intense atmosphere of the final in Berlin, characterized by arguments and offensive remarks, Zidane kindly offered me his shirt. However, I declined his offer, expressing my preference for his sister instead. Subsequently, he pivoted and responded in the manner that is etched in everyone’s memory. I never encountered Zinédine again.


Additionally, he also pondered upon the triumphant club led by Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan in 2010, which won three major championships. He contended that had Jose Mourinho remained at the club, the winning streak would have persisted.


Undoubtedly, he was. However, it was challenging to come to terms with my early circumstances. I was accustomed to being of great significance, to holding the position of captain, yet, under Mourinho’s leadership, I began to experience a decline in prominence.


“Nevertheless, he was forthright with me right from the start, informing me that my level of involvement would be reduced.” Regrettably, our encounter did not occur at an earlier time.


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“At times, words can be unnecessary and a mere embrace conveys everything,” he states. “We shed tears.” That moment was profoundly poignant. I inquired as to his reason for departure. What was the reason behind his decision to abandon me? I had a strained rapport with the incoming coach, Rafa Benítez, as I had a dislike towards him.


“I firmly believed that under Mourinho’s leadership, we would be able to maintain our winning streak.” Perhaps not another Champions League victory, but the team may yet be able to secure other prestigious trophies. However, he had already reached a conclusion to depart for Real Madrid.


When questioned about choosing the most significant moment in his career, either the 2006 World Cup or winning the Champions League in 2010, he responded with a rhetorical question, “Do you favor your mother or your father?” I am unable to make a selection between the two options. Undoubtedly, those two nights were the pinnacle of my professional career.


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