So finally the truth is out. Italian footballer Marco Materazzi has revealed what was said in the exchange that resulted in French legend Zinedine Zidane planting a head into the Italian’s chest in the most infamous moment of the recent FIFA World Cup.

According to Materazzi, it all had to do with Zidane’s sister.

Materazzi spoke to a local paper, Gazzetta dello Sport, with his comments reported on Sports Illustrated’s website. “I did not provoke him, I responded verbally to a provocation,” Materazzi said.

“We both spoke and I wasn’t the first. I held his shirt, but don’t you think it is a provocation to say that ‘if you want my shirt I will give it you afterwards’? I replied to Zidane that I would prefer his sister, that is true. I brought up his sister and that wasn’t a nice thing, that is true.”

So, let’s run through this. Marco thought Zinedine was being provocative by suggesting that they swap shirts after the game, as soccer players do. He responded that he’d rather have Zidane’s sister, which made the Frenchman so angry he got himself thrown out of football forever.

The first definitive conclusion is that Zidane shouldn’t contemplate a career in Australian grade cricket if he is unable to cope with such a lame piece of sledging, and the second conclusion is that it’s disappointing to discover the world’s top professionals are only capable of such schoolboy banter.

The priceless final word is from Materazzi, who admitted: “He has not apologised to me and I certainly don’t have to apologise to him. If anything, I owe apologies to his sister, although I swear, before all this mess I didn’t even know Zidane had a sister.”

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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