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10 July 2006

Sticks and stones...

...and headbutts may break bones. Here's a story about what may have set Zidane off.

Zidane apparently called "dirty terrorist"

Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:38 PM BST17

PARIS, July 10 (Reuters) - France captain Zinedine Zidane was apparently called a "dirty terrorist" by Marco Materazzi before he head-butted the Italy defender in Sunday's World Cup final, the anti-racism group SOS Racism said on Monday.

"According to several very well informed sources from the world of football, it would seem that the Italian player Marco Materazzi called Zinedine Zidane a 'dirty terrorist'," SOS Racism said in a statement.

Zidane, the son of Algerian immigrants, was shown a red card after the incident and Italy went on to win on penalties after the match was tied 1-1 following extra time.

The Paris-based group called for an inquiry and said world soccer's governing body FIFA had recently toughened sanctions against racism.

"It's for this reason that SOS Racism asks in a determined fashion for FIFA to shed light on this altercation and that sanctions laid out in the official rules be applied should this be the case," SOS Racism said.

Neither Zidane nor Materazzi have spoken in public about what had passed between them before the incident. French television reported that Zidane would talk about the incident "in the coming days".

And a subsequent response in the BBC:

Zidane blames Materazzi insults
Zinedine Zidane headbutts Marco Materazzi to the ground
The moment Zidane headbutted Materazzi to the ground
Zinedine Zidane's agent says the France captain headbutted Marco Materazzi in Sunday's World Cup final because the Italian made a "very serious" comment.

Zidane appeared to react to something that was said and was dismissed for his violent charge into his opponent.

"He told me Materazzi said something very serious to him but he wouldn't tell me what," agent Alain Migliaccio told BBC Five Live Sport.

Sources in France say it is believed Materazzi insulted Zidane's family.

Materazzi himself has not spoken publicly about the incident except to deny a claim by Paris-based anti-racism group SOS Racism, made on Monday, that he had called Zidane "a dirty terrorist".

"It is absolutely not true, I did not call him a terrorist. I'm ignorant. I don't even know what the word means," the Italian news agency Ansa quoted Materazzi as saying after the Italian team returned to Rome.

"The whole world saw what happened on live TV," he added.

Migliaccio, who spoke to Zidane early on Monday morning, added that Zidane did not elaborate on what Materazzi said.

"I don't know. Zinedine didn't want to talk about it but it will all come out in the next week," he said.

"He is a man who normally lets things wash over him but on Sunday night something exploded inside him.

"He was very disappointed and sad. He didn't want it to end this way."



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