The 2006 World Cup final is a game that those who watched it live will never forget.
Italy and France came head-to-head in football’s biggest fixture, with the former eventually prevailing on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
The match itself wasn’t the most enthralling overall, but it did contain perhaps the most controversial moment in the history of sport’s biggest tournament.
Zinedine Zidane – who had scored a delicious Panenka penalty earlier on – was sent off in extra-time for planting his head into the chest of Italian defender Marco Materazzi.
The referee didn’t actually see it, but after conferring with the off-field officials, he had no choice but to dismiss the French captain.
Footage of the incident still leaves you open-mouthed close to 15 years on, a moment of madness that was Zidane‘s final act as a player.
So what did Materazzi actually say to enrage the French icon? For years, it was thought he insulted Zidane’s mother, but the Italian denied those claims in 2017.
“My mother died when I was 15, I would never have insulted his,” Materazzi said. “I spoke about his sister.”
But what exactly did he say about Zidane’s sister? Well, in May 2020, we finally learned the truth from the man himself.
Materazzi answered questions during an Instagram Live session and as expected, the incident in the 2006 World Cup final cropped up.
As quoted by Football Italia, here’s what the former Inter Milan defender had to say…
“Zidane’s headbutt? I wasn’t expecting it in that moment,” Materazzi explained. “I was lucky enough that the whole episode took me by surprise because if I had expected something like that to happen and had been ready for it, I’m sure both of us would have ended up being sent off.
“There had been a bit of contact between us in the area. He had scored France’s goal in the first half and our coach (Marcello Lippi) told me to mark him. After that first brush between us, I apologised but he reacted badly.
“The late tackles, altercations and exchanges continued until 110 minutes, when things reached a head.
“After the third clash, I frowned and he retorted: ‘I’ll give you my shirt later’. I replied that I’d rather have his sister than his shirt.”
So they’re the words from Materazzi that made Zidane see red when the entire world was watching his every move.
The final moment of the midfielder’s iconic career was certainly memorable, just not in the right way…