In an interview with the Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday, Materazzi revealed it was a remark he made about Zidane’s sister that provoked the French captain’s moment of madness.

Materazzi said that when Zidane offered to give him his France jersey after the final whistle in response to persistent shirt-tugging by the Italian, he had replied: “I would prefer your sister.”

Materazzi insisted, however, that he should not blamed for sparking the incident. “I did not cause it,” he told Gazzetta. “I answered verbally with a provocation to defend myself.

“Yes, I was tugging his shirt, but when he said to me scornfully ‘If you want my shirt so much I’ll give it to you afterwards,’ is that not a provocation? I answered that I’d prefer his sister, it’s true.

“It’s not a particularly nice thing to say, I recognise that. But loads of players say worse things. I didn’t even know he had a sister before all this happened,” added Materazzi, who is suspended for Italy’s Euro 2008 qualifying rematch with France in Paris on Wednesday.

ZZ-headbuttNow I don’t condone what Materazzi said, if what Materrazi says is true, a missile like head-butt is no way for a player to respond to especially to a statment like that, there are things said in the heat of the moment that are far worse and players don’t respond to them.

Whatever the reason, Zidane’s actions were unacceptable and he deserved the red card.

Link: Hindustan Times