Despite his altercation with Zinedine Zidane in the 2006 World Cup, Marco Materazzi bears no grudge with the French midfielder.
The current Real Madrid coach was sent off for head-butting Materazzi as extra time was drawing to a close, and the Azzurri went on to clinch the trophy on penalties.
“I do not hate Zidane,” the former Inter man explained to Libero, “I love him. Not because he gave me a head butt, but because he gave me a World Cup.”
Materazzi scored Italy’s equaliser in that game, one of just two international goals he grabbed, but is disappointed with the Azzurri’s current predicament. This summer’s World Cup in Russia will be the first time the tournament has not featured Italy for 60 years.
“With Italy’s elimination, I felt real regret,” he continued, “to have Spain in their group was bad luck, but if you don’t win or even score a goal against Sweden…”