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Inter Milan's Materazzi: I shouldn't be villain in Zidane row

Inter Milan defender Marco Materazzi has again spoken of his clash with Zinedine Zidane in the 2006 World Cup final. Despite Zidane's headbutt and red card, Materazzi has been cast as the villain.

"Everywhere I go, in every continent, people tell me it was my fault or even that I was the one to give the headbutt," said an incredulous Materazzi on Sky Italia.

"This tells you what a distorted message that public opinion wanted to send out about what happened. They wanted to make it seem as if I was the one who made the mistake, forgetting this wasn't the first time Zidane headbutted someone. It was maybe the fourth or fifth."

The pair were marking each other on a corner and then walking back to their positions when the incident unfolded.

"If you watch the footage from straight after the corner, I was almost apologising because I was scared of his potential header, just as he had 10 minutes earlier with [Gigi] Buffon's save. When I made a gesture of apology, he looked at me from head to toe with an air of superficiality and superiority.

"It irritated me and I replied in a very Italian way. His response was probably not very French."

Materazzi had already revealed the verbal exchange between the two men. Zidane suggested 'If you want my shirt so badly I can give it to you after the match,' to which the defender sniped: 'I'd rather get the shirt from your sister.'

This is a classic Italian response to more or less any insult, the peninsula version of the American 'Yo mama.'

"Maybe it was my destiny to become more famous for the headbutt than the goals, but that doesn't change the fact in the Final I scored twice and Zidane only once," smiled the Inter star.

"In that too I feel I beat Zidane, just like Italy beat France. That was the main objective. If public opinion wants to make it seem like something it wasn't, that's their prerogative, but it doesn't change the result on the field.

"The French have that image of Zidane walking past the World Cup, whereas I put the Italy cap on top of it. I have a giant blow-up of that image in my house, it's our symbol of the tournament."

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Tribal Football Staff

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