Wild explanation behind infamous Zinedine Zidane World Cup headbutt

Chris Young
Sports Reporter
Italian footballer Marco Materazzi has revealed what he said to French counterpart Zinedine Zidane to prompt his infamous headbutt in the 2006 World Cup final. Picture: Getty Images

Italian footballer Marco Materazzi has finally revealed what he said to French captain Zinedine Zidane to provoke his infamous headbutt in the 2006 World Cup final.

Zidane was red-carded with 10 minutes of injury time left to play in the pulsating decider after sending Materazzi sprawling to the ground with a vicious headbutt to the Italian’s chest.

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Italy went on to win the World Cup on penalties with Zidane, who scored for France in the first half, sidelined for the shootout.

Rumours about the infamous moment had swirled for years, with many football fans speculating Materazzi had said something about Zidane’s mother to prompt the violent reaction.

But now, 14 years on from that memorable decider, Materazzi has revealed what he said - and busted a few myths in the process.

Taking to Instagram Live to field questions, Materazzi finally cleared the air when asked about the incident.

“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 (Marcello Lippi) 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.”

The rest is history - Zidane was sent off, Materazzi scored Italy’s second goal of the penalty shootout, and Frenchman David Trezeguet missed a deciding penalty.

C’est la vie.