Mon, Aug 20, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Materazzi spills beans on Zidane comment

FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH The Italian defender seemed to give support to the French star's claim that he had insulted his sister, provoking an infamous head butt

AP AND AFP , ROME

Italy defender Marco Materazzi has finally disclosed what he said to Zinedine Zidane in the World Cup final that provoked the former France midfielder to retaliate with a head-butt.

``I prefer the whore that is your sister,'' Materazzi wrote in his yet-to-be-released autobiography, according to Italian news reports on Saturday.

It was this comment that led to Zidane headbutting the Italian in the chest and being dramatically sent off. That incident preceded France losing the final in a penalty shoot-out.

Materazzi, who has previously refused to divulge exactly what he had said to make Zidane react so angrily, made his revelations to Italian magazine TV Sorrisi e Canzoni, which is due to be published today.

The uncompromising Inter Milan central defender -- who scored in the final and one of the penalties in the shoot-out -- had previously made a different statement.

"I held his shirt for only a few seconds, he [Zidane] turned to me and spoke to me in a manic fashion, looked at me arrogantly from top to bottom and said `if you want my shirt you can have it after the match.'"

"I responded with an insult, that is true," Materazzi said.

Zidane -- who retired after the World Cup -- had previously said that Materazzi's remarks had been personal and concerned his mother and his sister.

Materazzi, who received a two-game ban for incitement, has since apologized to Zidane.

The former Everton defender, who France coach Raymond Domenech said earlier this month had been the man of the match in the final, later on Saturday denied he had given the interview to the magazine.

"I would like to emphasize that the phrase used by TV Sorrisi e Canzoni is not part of an interview I gave to them, but comes from my autobiography which is coming out at the beginning of September," Materazzi said.

"I will not speak about my book until it is released on Aug. 30 in Milan. Any other revelations before this date will be considered as being non-authorized," he said

Materazzi's book will come out just over a week before the Italians face France in Milan in a Euro 2008 qualifier.

France beat Italy 3-1 the last time the sides met last September.

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