Sunday May 3 2020
Materazzi: 'Zidane, racist abuse and insults'

Marco Materazzi reveals what he said to Zinedine Zidane before the headbutt, but shows a lack of understanding when it comes to racist abuse. ‘Fines are so self-righteous now.’

The former Inter defender has always been a controversial figure, none more so than when he was knocked down flat by Zidane during the 2006 World Cup Final.

Speaking in an Instagram Live chat with Nicolò De Vitis, Matrix gave a slightly different version of what he said to Zidane.

“I wasn’t expecting it, but frankly that was what saved me. If I’d seen it coming, we both would’ve ended up in the dressing room early,” said Materazzi.

“I was marking him closely, I kept apologising when he’d react badly. The third time, I let go. He said to me: ‘If you want, you can have my shirt afterwards.’ I told him I’d prefer his sister…”

This is different to the version Materazzi has given in the past, which was ‘you can give the shirt to your sister.’

The Treble-winning centre-back also had some controversial opinions on racism in stadiums and how it should be fought.

“In every stadium I ever played in, they chanted ‘son of a w***e’ at me, now they all act self-righteous with racist chants, flashing big fines around. The sporting justice system they had then and now understand nothing.

“I don’t think the ‘buu’ (monkey noises) are a form of racism, they are just trying to stop the opposing player from concentrating on the game. At least, that’s what I would hope, because if they chant ‘son of a w***e’ at me and mean it, that’s a tiny-brained person.

“So either they do it because they are tiny-brained or they fear you, and if they fear you, it means they know you are strong. That’s how I tried to view it, anyway. Whether they go buu to Mario Balotelli or call him the 'son of a w***e' is just as offensive, I think.

“Now the sporting justice figures want to appear all self-righteous and throw around €20,000 fines to close the stands. What does that even achieve?”

Materazzi’s mother died when he was very young, so he is particularly sensitive around that particular – unfortunately very common – chant in football stadiums.

“I was booked and fined €10,000 for making a gesture towards the Milan fans after the derby. I went to the disciplinary commission and they advised me to say the gesture was just for my own fans.

“Obviously, I said no, I really was aiming it at the Milan fans, because they’d been chanting ‘son of a w***e’ at me for 10 years.”