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Materazzi defends Daniele De Rossi

Former Inter Milan and Italy defender Marco Materazzi believes the Lega Serie A was wrong to ban Daniele De Rossi for three matches for hitting an opponent.

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The Lega's disciplinary board viewed video evidence of De Rossi's clash with Mauro Icardi, which was not picked up by the referee during the 0-0 draw between Roma and Inter on Saturday night. The same approach was used to ban Inter's Juan Jesus for a similar gesture during that match.

Having seen the pictures, though, Materazzi believes De Rossi should not have been punished for what he believes was a "normal match situation."

"You can see only the way the action finished, but not how it started," he told Radio 24. "It's easy to point the finger based on what was seen but, for me, it was just a normal match situation. Replays were shown a billion times during the match and I think the judge has let this influence him.

"[Roma coach Rudi] Garcia is right when he says that the TV does not show everything and we've got to be careful. It's got to be said also that the football judges have never actually played football."

The incident happened within a packed penalty area and there were few protests from Icardi or Inter players as they all jostled for position. Footage does, however, show De Rossi's right arm swing around and catch Icardi on the right-hand side of his face, even if his intent remains unclear.

The red card and subsequent suspension also cost De Rossi his place in the Italy squad to face Spain on Wednesday night with national team coach Cesare Prandelli enforcing his code of conduct, which excludes players who are banned domestically.

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