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Zidane head-butt, Schweinsteiger provocation - Marco Materazzi's five most controversial moments

Throughout Marco Materazzi's career, controversy has consistently followed or, depending on your point of view, been incited by the towering defender, who has become known for his contentious moments and comments on and off the pitch rather than his ability as a defender.

His latest turn in the spotlight came after the Nerazzurri's heart-racing last-gasp victory away to Bayern Munich in the Champions League round of 16, when the Bavarians' star Bastian Schweinsteiger slammed Materazzi in the press for provoking him after the final whistle and made reference to the infamous incident regarding Zinedine Zidane and Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final.

In a long stint filled with remarkable events, there have been so many memorable moments for the 37-year-old, such as wearing a Silvio Berlusconi mask, or any number of his fierce challenges - which have seen him earn the nickname 'The Butcher'. Now Goal.com reveals Materazzi's five most controversial moments for club and country.

 

1. Head-butted by Zizou

We start with the one that made headlines worldwide and was seen by millions. The 'head-butt heard around the world' in the 2006 World Cup final which was coincidentally the end of French legend Zinedine Zidane's career.

In extra-time, with Materazzi marking him tightly, the former Juventus and Real Madrid man sarcastically asked the Italian if he would like his jersey after the match. In typical Materazzi fashion, he responded he'd rather have his "w***e of a sister" and 'Zizou' retaliated with vigour, earning a sending-off as Italy went on to win the trophy on penalties. Suggestions that a racist remark had promopted the incident were subsequently found to be untrue.

2. Punched By Mexes

Another Italian-French bust-up. During last season's Coppa Italia final, in a scuffle at a set-piece, Materazzi theatrically fell to the ground after being assaulted by former Auxerre centre-back Mexes. Replays showed he had indeed been punched in the stomach by the Giallorossi player, though Mexes was not red-carded.

After the match, Materazzi further ignited the rivalry between the two sides, who have fought domestically for the title and cup in the last few years, by revealing that Mexes had hit him twice during the course of the match, and also thanking him for giving Inter the win, as it was Mexes' mistake that led to Diego Milito scoring the winner at the Stadio Olimpico.

3.
Sent Off v The Socceroos

Perhaps the former Everton man's reputation got the better of him in this situation. In a 2006 World Cup round of 16 clash in Kaiserslautern, he was shown a red card for a challenge that was seemingly a run of the mill tackle on Mark Bresciano.

At the start of the second half, Materazzi came sliding in on the midfielder, but clumsily took more of his own team-mate Gianluca Zambrotta than his opponent. The Azzurri were left to fight with 10 men for the rest of the match, but eventually won 1-0 due to another controversial challenge in injury time when Francesco Totti converted a penalty earned by Fabio Grosso.

4.
Materazzi Assaults Super Mario

If there were ever two personalities you would bet your mortgage on clashing, it would be those of 'Matrix' and 'Super Mario'. Cast your mind back to the first leg of Inter's semi-final win over Barcelona in last year's Champions League campaign. It was one of the Nerazzurri's best performances in recent memory as they bested the Blaugrana 3-1 at the San Siro, but it did have one sour note.

Substitute Balotelli, upset by jeers from the crowd, threw his Nerazzurri shirt on the pitch at the final whistle, angering his team-mate. Former Inter player Zlatan Ibrahimovic, then with Barca, was stunned by what he had seen, claiming Materazzi had "attacked" Balotelli in the tunnel on the way to the dressing room in response to the youngster's actions. Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola also slammed Materazzi for "assaulting" his client and it's been hinted it was one of the reasons the striker decided to switch to Manchester City in the summer.

5. Provoking Schweinsteiger


And we come full circle. Just this past week Schweinsteiger told the press that Materazzi provoked and taunted him in the wake of the Nerazzurri's 3-2 win at the Allianz Arena, claiming he now "understands" why Zidane reacted the way he did to the veteran defender.

Materazzi responded by saying that he didn't like Schweinsteiger's pre-match interviews and comments, which he took as a slight toward both Inter and Italian football, later telling the German international to "only talk after you win, and not before". Will the Italian have a few more entertaining moments before the end of his career?

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