What prompted infamous Cup headbutt

Italy defender Marco Materazzi has finally revealed what he said that instigated the infamous Zinedine Zidane headbutt in the 2006 World Cup final.

With the match tied up 1-1 with ten minutes remaining in extra-time, the French captain was red carded after he headbutted Materazzi in the chest.

Italy went onto win a penalty shootout and claim their fourth World Cup title. Zidane never played for France again having led them to a maiden World Cup title eight years earlier.

Reports at the time suggested the Italian provoked Zidane by making a comment about his mother, but Materazzi denied that, saying his own mother passed away when he was young. However, he has revealed he did take a shot at a family member of Zidane.

French midfielder Zinedine Zidane headbutting Italian defender Marco Materazzi during the World Cup 2006 final.Source:AFP

Quoted by Italian media, Materazzi was answering questions on Instagram Live last week when a fan brought up the Zidane headbutt.

“I wasn’t expecting it in that moment. I was lucky enough that the whole episode took me by surprise because if I had expected something like that to happen and had been ready for it, I’m sure both of us would have ended up being sent off,” Materazzi said.

“There had been a bit of contact between us in the area. He had scored France’s goal in the first half and our coach told me to mark him. After that first brush between us, I apologised but he reacted badly,” he added.

“The late tackles, altercations and exchanges continued until 110 minutes, when things reached a head.

“After the third clash, I frowned and he retorted, ‘I’ll give you my shirt later’. I replied that I’d rather have his sister than his shirt.”

Materazzi, who equalised for Italy after Zidane opened the scoring in the first half, then scored Italy’s second goal in the shootout before France's David Trezeguet missed what proved to be the deciding penalty.

This article originally appeared in the NZ Herald and was republished with permission

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