13 Years Ago Today, Zinedine Zidane Headbutted Marco Materazzi In World Cup Final

Zinedine Zidane went from hero to zero 13 years ago to this day with one of the most shocking World Cup final moments ever.

It was on this day in 2006 that the French midfielder headbutted Italian defender Marco Materazzi in the chest and saw red.

Zidane had one of the most incredible careers of any player in his era, maybe ever. The Frenchman may not have the 'stats' that usually back up how good a player is in this era but in the late 90s and early 00s there was no doubting he was a great.

The former Galactico scored twice in a World Cup final, on home soil, as France won the 1998 World Cup and scored possibly the greatest goal in a Champions League final, unless you prefer Gareth Bale's effort from earlier this year.

In 2006 Zidane decided that after the World Cup he would call it a day on his career, he was 'just' 34 and still a first teamer at Real, but the tournament in Germany would be his final act as a player.

At the World Cup he lit up the tournament. France only finished second in their group but he put on masterclasses in their second round and quarter finals against Spain and Brazil.

He was brilliant again in the semi-final against Portugal and scored the only goal of the game from the spot, taking them to the final against Italy.

Zidane chips in his penalty against Buffon. Image: PA Images
Zidane chips in his penalty against Buffon. Image: PA Images

In that final he looked destined to win the whole thing for his tournament. Materazzi fouled Florent Malouda and Zidane put away the penalty by chipping it off the underside of the crossbar with Gianluigi Buffon unable to do anything.

Materazzi equalised just 12 minutes later, heading in from a corner, and it would be the Italian who would decide Zidane's fate and the fate of the World Cup trophy.

Zidane walks past the trophy after his red card. Image: PA Images
Zidane walks past the trophy after his red card. Image: PA Images

Buffon saved from a Zidane header in extra time and then, with just 10 minutes left till penalties, a discussion between the midfielder and Materazzi led to Zidane planting a headbutt right on the defender's chest.

The referee failed to see the off the ball incident but the fourth official let him know what had happened amidst claims the off field official only knew about the incident after seeing a television replay on the sidelines.

Zizou was shown a red card and infamously had to walk past the World Cup trophy as his final act as a footballer.

Materazzi would go on to score in the ensuing penalty shoot-out as David Trezeguet was the only player to miss for either side and Italy were world champions.

After the match the Golden Ball award, for the tournament's best player, went to Zidane.

Weirdly he's still got a three match ban for the altercation but considering he's now 47 it's unlikely he'll ever have to sit it out.

Ryan Sidle

Ryan is a writer for SPORTbible. He covers all sport from football, formula one, cricket, rugby, tennis, athletics, mma and wrestling. He obviously hates YOUR football team and has no interest in synchronised swimming.

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