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Materazzi: Benitez 'scared of own shadow'

Marco Materazzi has laid into his former Inter Milan boss Rafael Benitez, saying he never got on with the coach during his short spell at the club.

• Blog: Should Inter bring Balotelli home?

The retired defender, who played for the club during the Spaniard's ill-fated stint in charge at the start of the 2010-11 season, was making an appearance on Italian TV show Undici and compared Benitez to his predecessor Jose Mourinho, who led the Nerazzurri to Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League triumphs in the previous campaign.

Benitez left Liverpool in order to fill the vacancy left by Mourinho, but his tenure lasted just six months and he was sacked just before Christmas having lost seven of his 25 games in charge.

"Jose Mourinho is the number one. He makes sure players feel completely involved in the project," Materazzi said. "In Madrid after the Champions League final he told me that he was leaving and the bench went to Benitez.

"I never got on with Rafa. He even made me remove from my locker the photographs of my happiest moments with Mourinho and [World Cup-winning Italy boss] Marcello Lippi. He thought that he knew everything, but instead he was afraid of his own shadow."

Materazzi also said he thinks fondly of former France star Zinedine Zidane, who was famously sent off in the 2006 World Cup final when he attacked the Italy defender. The moment has been immortalised with a statue erected in Paris, and Materazzi recently posed in front of it for a picture that he posted on his Twitter feed.

"Zidane will always have a special place in my heart," he said. "After all, he helped me win a World Cup. I don't think about the head-butt, only the trophy I lifted later that night."

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