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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Marco Materazzi: I used 'stupid words' before Zinedine Zidane head-butt

Zinedine Zidane's act proved costly for France in the 2006 World Cup final.
Zinedine Zidane head-butted Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final.

Former Italy defender Marco Materazzi has told L'Equipe what happened before he was head-butted by Zinedine Zidane during the 2006 World Cup final in Berlin.

The infamous incident happened in extra time of a match France lost 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in which both men scored.

Materazzi said he had been provoked before confronting Zidane and explained that he had made a comment about the France star's sister, not his mother as had been reported, before he was head-butted.

He admitted he had used "stupid words," but added: "They didn't deserve to provoke such a reaction.

"If you go to a football pitch in the suburbs of Rome, Naples, Turin, Milan or Paris, you'll realise that what I said was quite soft compared to what you hear there.

"What annoyed me most was that some supporters or journalists said that I insulted his mother. I would never have allowed myself to offend his mother, because I lost mine a long time ago."

Materazzi claimed Zidane had provoked him by saying: "If you want my jersey, I'll give it to you at the end."

"You see on the images that he's talking to me," he said. "I asked him two times to repeat himself to be sure that I understood. The third time I responded because I understood that he was making fun of me.

"In fact, we were playing the same match, we had both scored but he was the great champion and I was useless -- I wasn't in the same world. That's how I took his mocking, and I reacted."

He said he had "no bitterness" about the incident but added that he had never met Zidane since, and that the Frenchman -- who had been playing in his last-ever match -- had not attempted to apologise.

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