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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 11, 2006

Materazzi admits he insulted Zidane before head butt

MILAN, Italy (ESPNSoccernet.com news services) -- Marco Materazzi acknowledged he insulted Zinedine Zidane before the French captain head-butted him in the World Cup final, but repeated his denial that he called Zidane a "terrorist."

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"I did insult him, it's true," Materazzi said in Tuesday's Gazzetta dello Sport. "But I categorically did not call him a terrorist. I'm not cultured and I don't even know what an Islamic terrorist is."

A Paris-based anti-racism group issued a statement Monday saying Materazzi had called Zidane, whose parents emigrated to France from Algeria, a "dirty terrorist."

FIFA announced Tuesday it would open a disciplinary investigation into the circumstances of Zidane's head butt.

"FIFA will open a disciplinary investigation into Zidane's conduct to enable it to clarify the circumstances surrounding the incident as exactly as possible," world soccer's governing body said in a statement.

Zidane and Materazzi exchanged words in extra-time of Sunday's final in Berlin. Seconds later, Zidane lowered his head and rammed Materazzi in the chest, knocking him to the ground. Zidane was ejected from the match.

"I held his shirt for a few seconds only, then he turned round and spoke to me, sneering," the Italian defender told the newspaper. "He looked me up and down, arrogantly and said: 'If you really want my shirt, I'll give it to you afterwards.'"

The 32-year-old Inter Milan player did not elaborate on exactly what he said to Zidane.

"It was one of those insults you're told tens of times and that always fly around the pitch," he said.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.