Thursday April 16 2020
Materazzi: 'Balotelli deserved beating'

Marco Materazzi reveals the brawl with Inter teammate Mario Balotelli in 2010 started on the team bus, defends Jose Mourinho and slams those who criticised him after the Zinedine Zidane headbutt.

The World Cup and Treble winner sat down for an Instagram interview with chef and Nerazzurri supporter Davide Oldani today.

He was asked about the infamous incident after the 2010 Champions League semi-final between Inter and Barcelona, when substitute Balotelli threw his shirt to the ground, was chased into the dressing room and pinned to the wall by Matrix.

“I gave him a good beating, it’s true. I love Mario, but he really deserved it that day. We’ve become friends again now, practically brothers, but he did something that day that he really should not have done.

“Throwing his shirt to the ground after the final whistle wasn’t even the worst of it. Before the game, on the team bus, he told us: ‘Today I’m going to play badly,’ so I promised to make him pay if he did.

“When he came off the bench, he tried a shot from midfield rather than go on the counter. Diego Milito wanted to kill him. We believed in Mario, he scored many goals and contributed to the victory, but a week after that, I asked Mourinho to put me against Balotelli in the training ground games between ranks. After a few seconds, I’d send him back to the dressing room.

“I really loved his father, as after a game with Rubin Kazan he told Mario: ‘I didn’t like your performance, you have to play more for your teammates. And stop going around with girls!’ What an idol.”

Mourinho was the coach in that Treble campaign and formed an indelible bond with Materazzi.

“Nobody can match Mourinho when it comes to creating that empathic connection with players. Plus, he’s a smartass. He has struggled to win recently, because he was successful at Manchester United. Tottenham have a young and strong squad, so I hope he can get back to winning ways.”

Materazzi is best remembered for being on the end of Zidane’s headbutt during the 2006 World Cup Final, but he maintains that he did nothing to deserve that.

“Zidane was protected by the French, but I was torn apart by my own countrymen, who I don’t see as real Italians. I am patriotic, I will always defend the colours of Italy.

“Their criticism is what hurt the most after that World Cup. Those same people should’ve kissed the ground I walked on, seeing as I’d scored the equaliser in the Final.”

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