Revisiting The Infamous Zidane Headbutt: Marco Materazzi Shares His Side Of The Story
“Zidane offered me his jersey, I said no I prefer his sister”
– Marco Materazzi on what was really said before he got headbutted pic.twitter.com/0XlVrgeJso
— Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) April 7, 2023
Zinedine Zidane: The Controversial Retirement
Zinedine Zidane, one of the greatest footballers ever, retired from professional football after the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. He retired in a controversial manner after headbutting Marco Materazzi in the final match, which led to his red card and subsequent suspension. The incident not only shocked the football world but also left a permanent mark on Zidane’s legacy.
Zidane’s Early Career
Born on 23 June 1972 in Marseille, France, Zinedine Yazid Zidane began playing football early. He joined the youth academy of AS Cannes in 1983 and made his professional debut for the club in 1989. After spending two seasons at Cannes, Zidane moved to Bordeaux, where he spent four seasons and helped the club win the French Cup in 1996.
Zidane’s Career in Italy and Spain
In 1996, Zidane signed for Italian giants Juventus for a then-world-record fee of €77.5 million. He played for Juventus for five seasons, winning two Serie A titles and reaching two Champions League finals. He also won the Ballon d’Or in 1998 and the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 1998, 2000, and 2003.
In 2001, Zidane signed for Real Madrid for a fee of €77.5 million, which was again a world record at the time. He played for Real Madrid for five seasons, winning the UEFA Champions League in 2002 and 2005, the La Liga title in 2003, and the Spanish Super Cup in 2001 and 2003. Zidane announced his retirement from professional football in 2006 after the FIFA World Cup.
The 2006 FIFA World Cup Final
The 2006 FIFA World Cup final between France and Italy was held on 9 July 2006 at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, Germany. Zidane, who was playing his last match for France, opened the scoring for France in the seventh minute with a penalty kick. Italy equalized in the 19th minute through Marco Materazzi’s header.
In the second half, the match remained tied at 1-1, and the game went into extra time. In the 110th minute, Zidane headbutted Materazzi in the chest after an exchange of words between the two. The incident was not seen by the referee, but the fourth official informed him, and Zidane was sent off. France lost the match on penalties 5-3.
Controversy and Fallout
The incident sparked controversy and debate in the football world, with many questioning Zidane’s actions. The media quickly criticised him, and fans were left disappointed by his behaviour. Zidane later apologized for his actions, stating that he had acted out of provocation.
Materazzi, who stayed on after the assault and scored in the shootout, claimed that he had insulted Zidane’s sister and not his mother, as earlier claimed by some media outlets. He also denied having used racist language, as some rumours had suggested. Materazzi’s comments only added fuel to the already heated debate.
Zidane’s headbutt has become one of the most controversial moments in football history. While it tarnished his legacy to some extent, it also highlighted his passion for the game. Zidane’s talent and skill on the field were undeniable, and he remains one of the greatest players to have graced the sport.
After retiring from football, Zidane went on to become a coach and led Real Madrid to three consecutive