Marco Materazzi claims he mentioned Zinedine Zidane’s sister – not mother – upon being headbutted by the Real Madrid boss in the 2006 World Cup final.
Reports quickly speculated that Materazzi insulted Zidane’s mother before the Frenchman planted his head into the defender’s chest, but 10 years on and the Italian world champion remains adamant the incident had been blown out of proportion.
“I decided to publish a book about the incident [entitled ‘What I Really Told Zidane’ in 2006] because everyone had asked me what I said [to Zidane] for him to react like that,” he told L’Equipe.
“My words were stupid but didn’t deserve his reaction. In any neighbourhood of Rome, Naples, Turin, Milan and Paris, you hear much worse things.
“I spoke to him about his sister but not his mother, as I read in some newspapers.
“My mother died while I was a teenager [at 15], so I’d have never insulted his.
“I don’t understand why this story was made so much of. The only thing I want to be remembered for are my two goals in the final.
“Sometimes in Italy, I meet fans who say, ‘Marco, you did very well for him to give you his head!’, but it annoys me.
“Still, it doesn’t matter. I have no grudge with him and never will.”