Marco Materazzi
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Marco Materazzi

Marco Materazzi
Marco Materazzi - Inter Mailand (1).jpg
Materazzi in 2009
Personal information
Full name Marco Materazzi
Date of birth (1973-08-19) 19 August 1973 (age 45)
Place of birth Lecce, Italy
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
Playing position Centre back
Youth career
1988-1990 Lazio
1990-1991 Messina Peloro
1991-1993 Tor di Quinto
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1990-1991 Messina 1 (0)
1991-1993 Tor di Quinto 12 (0)
1993-1994 Marsala 25 (4)
1994-1995 Trapani 13 (2)
1995-1998 Perugia 47 (7)
1996-1997 -> Carpi (loan) 18 (7)
1998-1999 Everton 25 (1)
1999-2001 Perugia 51 (15)
2001-2011 Internazionale 184 (18)
2014 Chennaiyin 7 (0)
Total 405 (55)
National team
2001-2008 Italy 41 (2)
Teams managed
2014-2016 Chennaiyin (player-manager)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Marco Materazzi Ufficiale OMRI (Italian pronunciation: ['marko mate'rattsi]; born 19 August 1973) is an Italian former professional footballer and manager.

Early in his career, Materazzi played with various Italian teams in Serie B and Serie C, and with Everton in the Premier League. He spent two periods with Perugia (1995-98 and 1999-2001) and signed for Internazionale in 2001 for EUR10 million. At club level, he won a number of major honors with Inter, including five Serie A league titles in a row from 2006 to 2010, one UEFA Champions League, one FIFA Club World Cup, four Coppa Italia titles, and the Supercoppa Italiana four times.[1]

Materazzi earned 41 caps for Italy from his debut in 2001 until 2008, playing in two World Cups and two European Championships. He was one of the key players in the 2006 FIFA World Cup Final against France, as he scored Italy's goal and later, in extra time, he received a headbutt from Zinedine Zidane, who was punished with a red card.[2] Italy then went on to win the World Cup in a penalty shoot-out, during which Materazzi scored again.

A controversial and provocative figure in football, he was known for his very physical and aggressive style of play as a defender, as well as his tight marking and strong, harsh tackling, which led him to receive more than 60 yellow cards and 25 red cards throughout his playing career.[3] Due to his temper and his commitment to rash, heavy challenges, he has been involved in several altercations with other players during matches,[4] drawing comparisons with retired defender Pasquale Bruno.[5]The Times placed Materazzi at number 45 in their list of the 50 hardest football players in history.[6]

Club career

Early career

Materazzi began his footballing career with the Lazio and then the Messina Peloro youth teams from 1990 to 1991.[7] He spent his early career in the lower divisions of Italian football, with amateur side Tor di Quinto (1991-92), Serie C2 team Marsala (1993-94), and Serie C1 Trapani (1994-95), where he narrowly missed a historic promotion to Serie B after losing a promotion playoff to Gualdo. Serie B squad Perugia Calcio signed Materazzi for the first time in 1995,[8] but he spent a part of the 1996-97 season in Serie C with Carpi.

He then spent 1998-99 with Everton,[9] where he was sent off three times in just 27 games, and scored twice, against Middlesbrough in the league[10] and Huddersfield Town in the League Cup.[11][12]

He then returned to Perugia in 1999 and scored 12 goals, including 7 from penalties in the 2000-01 season, breaking Daniel Passarella's Serie A record of most goals by a defender in one season.[12]


2001-2004: Debut and controversies

Materazzi's number 23 shirt

Materazzi was signed by Internazionale in July 2001 for EUR10 million.[13][14] He took squad number 23 and made his competitive debut for the club on 26 August in the opening championship match against Perugia.[15] Materazzi's first goal for Inter came only in his second appearance, netting inside 10 minutes in a 2-2 draw at Parma.[16] He also played eight time in the season's UEFA Cup, with the debuting match coming on 20 September in the 3-0 win versus Romania's Bra?ov.[17]

Materazzi played 23 matches in league, including the final decisive match versus Lazio which lost Inter the championship title;[18] he was a protagonist of a controversy episode following the final whistle as he was included in a heated discussion with the opposite players which also went to physical confrontation.[19][20] He was caught by the cameras shouting at Lazio captain Alessandro Nesta, saying: "I won you the title", in reference to Perugia's win over Juventus in 2000 which lead Lazio to the title.[19]

In the following season, Materazzi made 33 appearances across all competitions, including 13 in UEFA Champions League, where he played his first match on 14 August 2002 in a goalless draw against Sporting CP.[21]

Materazzi's 2003-04 season was highlighted by injuries, such as the one he suffered on 25 November during the 5-1 home loss to Arsenal in UEFA Champions League group stage which kept him out of action for two months.[22] He was in the center of a controversy again in the beginning of 2004 for aggression towards Siena player Bruno Cirillo. This happened on 1 February in a match which was won 4-0 by Inter.[23] Materazzi (who did not play in the match) confronted Cirillo in the dressing rooms and begun spewing insults towards him. He also punched him in the face, fracturing his lip.[24][25] After the incident was denounced, the sports judge Maurizio Laudi suspended Materazzi until 29 March,[26] meaning that he will miss eight club matches and one international match.[27][28] In addition to his domestic suspension, Materazzi was also suspended by UEFA for two UEFA Cup games.[29] Inter was also fined with EUR5,000.[30] Materazzi later apologized for the incident, saying that he "behaved badly" and "reacted in a bad way", also adding that he would not appeal the suspension.[31]

2004-2008: Domestic success under Mancini

In July 2004, at the start of 2004-05 season, Inter bench was entrusted to manager Roberto Mancini, with whom - in the first season - Materazzi lost his place in the starting lineup.[32] In the next season he played more,[33] and was the only Italian to score a goal for the club that season. On 5 March 2006, Materazzi scored an 89th-minute header at Roma to rescue his side a point and to break the hosts' record of 11 consecutive victories.[34][35] He finished the 2005-06 season by totaling 39 appearances across all competitions.

Materazzi signed a new contract in August 2006 which kept him at San Siro until June 2010.[36] At the end of the year he was a nominee for UEFA Team of the Year along with teammate Fabio Grosso.[37] The 2006-07 season saw him scoring 10 goals, thus being the top scoring defender of Serie A.[38] He notably scored in the 4-3 win in Derby della Madonnina against Milan,[39] an overhead kick versus Messina and a brace away to Siena on 23 April which won the club's 15th league title with five games remaining.[40][41] For his performances, Materazzi was voted the Serie A Defender of the Year.[42]

Materazzi during a training session

Materazzi missed the first part of 2007-08 season due to an injury suffered whilst on international duty which forced him to be sidelined until November 2007.[43] Later in February of the following year, Materazzi gave a poor display in the first leg of 2007-08 UEFA Champions League first knockout round against Liverpool, receiving a red card in the 30th minute, as Inter lost 2-0 at Anfield.[44] His performance was criticised by his teammates after the end of the match.[45] Later on throughout the season, during a 2-2 draw against Siena,[46] Materazzi argued with striker Julio Ricardo Cruz on who to take a penalty kick.[47] Eventually it was Materazzi who took it but his attempt was easily saved by Alex Manninger.[47] It was his first miss since 2001. The draw spoiled Inter's chances of winning the title with one game to spare. After the match, the choice to take the penalty was criticized by manager Roberto Mancini while Materazzi himself apologized, stating that it should have been Cruz the one to take it.[47] Inter eventually won the championship for the third consecutive time after defeating Parma 2-0 in the last matchday with Materazzi playing full-90 minutes.[48][49] He concluded the season with 23 Serie A appearances, 4 Coppa Italia appearances, 1 Supercoppa Italiana appearance and 3 UEFA Champions League appearances for a total of 33 appearances.

2008-2011: Final years and more glory

The summer of 2008 saw the arrival of Portuguese manager José Mourinho who did not saw Materazzi as the first choice in defence, relegating him to the bench.[50] Apart from that, his season was also marred by injuries, which reduced his league tally to only 8 appearances.[51] He scored his first UEFA Champions League goal on 4 November in a 3-3 draw at Anorthosis in the Group B matchday 4.[52][53] Materazzi won his 4th championship on 17 May 2009 following Inter's 3-0 defeat of Siena.[54] Despite playing rarely, he was still praised by president Massimo Moratti who said that Materazzi "always played well whenever he was called upon last season" while manager Mourinho stated that he wanted to have Materazzi in his team.[55]

Materazzi in action for Inter

In June 2009, Materazzi was handed a new deal by Inter until June 2012.[56] He was used sparingly during the 2009-10 season, making 20 appearances in all competitions. In January 2010, he underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair damage to the medial meniscus in his right knee which kept him sidelined for one month.[57] Materazzi was an injury-time substitute for Inter in the 2010 UEFA Champions League Final against Bayern Munich, replacing Diego Milito who scored both of their goals in the 2-0 victory in Madrid.[58] In addition to that, Inter also clinched the Scudetto,[59] for the fifth season in a row,[60] and Coppa Italia,[61] to complete the Treble.[62]

He begun the 2010-11 season by coming on in the last minutes of a 3-1 home win over Roma in the Supercoppa Italiana match.[63] Materazzi's first league match of the season came later in November where he started in the derby against Milan due to the absence of Walter Samuel; he conceded a penalty in 4th minute for fouling Zlatan Ibrahimovi? and was later sent to hospital after a receiving a kung-fu kick in the stomach by the Swede.[64][65] Inter lost the match 1-0.[66] Following the end of the match, manager Rafael Benítez calmed the situation by stating that Materazzi's injury "doesn't seem serious".[64] He returend in action two weeks later by playing full-90 minutes in a 5-2 home win over Parma.[67] In December, Materazzi was included in Inter's squad for 2010 FIFA Club World Cup, remaining on the bench as Inter won their 5th title of the year.[68]

Materazzi left the club in July 2011 after not being offered a new contract, having played around 270 games for the club and winning 15 trophies,[69] and shortly after, announced his retirement from the sport.[70][71] He was later appointed in the role of ambassador to Inter. Later, Materazzi accused manager Leonardo of "stabbed him in the back" and the reason of his departure from Inter,[72][73] and also threw accusations to president Massimo Moratti of not having defended him against Leonardo.[74]

Chennaiyin FC

Materazzi during his time with Chennaiyin FC.

On 22 September 2014, Materazzi was signed as the player-manager of Chennaiyin FC in the inaugural season of the Indian Super League.[75] Materazzi signed a two-season contract with Chennaiyin for $1 million (USD) every season.[76][77] Materazzi did not choose himself to play in their opening match, a 2-1 victory at FC Goa on 15 October courtesy of a free kick from marquee player and former Brazil international Elano.[78] Six days later in his first home game, Chennaiyin defeated the Kerala Blasters 2-1, but four days after that he lost for the first time, 1-4 to the Delhi Dynamos. In the club's fourth match of the season, he selected himself to play for the first time, starting in a 5-1 win over Mumbai City.[79] On 28 November, he brought his former international defensive partner Alessandro Nesta out of retirement to play for Chennaiyin until the end of the season.[80] Chennaiyin finished the 14-game regular season in first place in the league, with Materazzi having made 6 appearances. In the end-of-season play-offs, the team were eliminated in extra time in the semi-finals by the Kerala Blasters.

At the end of the 2015 season, in which Materazzi led Chennaiyin to the Indian Super League championship, his contract ended.[81] After the conclusion of the 2016 season, it was announced that Materazzi would not return to the club for 2017.[82]

International career

Debut and 2002 World Cup

Materazzi made his debut for the Italy national team on 25 April 2001, in a 1-0 friendly match victory against South Africa.[83] He made two appearances in the qualifying campaign against Georgia and Hungary. In the final tournament of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Materazzi was used as a reserve player to back up Alessandro Nesta and Fabio Cannavaro. He made only one appearance by coming on as a substitute for Nesta in the 2-1 loss to Croatia in the group stage but soon in the 90th minute Materazzi played a floating ball over the top from just over half way to Inzaghi but everyone missed the ball and it rolled in the back of the net but the goal was disallowed after referee Graham Poll claimed that Inzaghi had grabbed an opponent's shirt.[84] Materazzi was later criticised for his defending on both of Croatia's goals during the match.[85][86]

UEFA Euro 2004

Despite a long suspension with Inter,[22] Materazzi was still called up by manager Giovanni Trapattoni for the UEFA Euro 2004,[87] where he was on the bench for Italy's first two games but started in the final group game against Bulgaria in place of the suspended Fabio Cannavaro, as Italy came from behind to win 2-1; in the first half, Materazzi was judged to have allegedly fouled Dimitar Berbatov in the area, conceding a penalty, which Martin Petrov subsequently converted. Despite the win, Italy were eliminated in the first round on direct encounters, following a three-way five point tie with Denmark and Sweden.[88]

Materazzi played his first match as captain for Italy on 17 November 2004 in a 1-0 friendly win over Finland in which he also received a yellow card.[89] His second and final match as captain came in another friendly against Iceland on 30 March 2005 where he played in the first half.[90]

2006 World Cup

Materazzi in 2006, during the FIFA World Cup in Germany

Materazzi was included in the 23-man squad by manager Marcelo Lippi for the 2006 FIFA World Cup which was his third major tournament.[91] He began the tournament as a reserve player, but after Alessandro Nesta suffered an injury in the group match against the Czech Republic,[92] Materazzi came on as his replacement and made an impact by scoring a goal, and was named Man of the Match.[93] He received a red card in the round of 16 match against Australia for a foul on Mark Bresciano,[94] which ended in a 1-0 win for the Italians, and was suspended for the quarter-final against Ukraine, which Italy won 3-0.[95] In the final against France, Materazzi fouled Florent Malouda to concede a penalty, which Zinedine Zidane subsequently scored. He made another impact by scoring a goal to tie the game, a header from a right sided corner by Andrea Pirlo. After the match went to extra-time, Materazzi and Zidane were involved in a confrontation in the 110th minute, where Materazzi verbally insulted Zinedine Zidane while tugging his shirt as Zidane attempted to walk away, which ended with Zidane head-butting Materazzi and receiving a red card.[96] The game then continued to penalties. Materazzi scored Italy's second penalty as they defeated France 5-3 to claim their fourth FIFA World Cup.[97] After the final, the confrontation resulted in a major controversy as Zidane accused Materazzi of insulting his sister and mother. Additionally, Materazzi claimed that after he had grabbed Zidane's jersey, Zidane sarcastically said to him "If you want my shirt, I will give to you afterwards". Materazzi then revealed that he replied, "Preferisco la puttana di tua sorella[98]" (I would prefer your whore of a sister[98]), which resulted in the head-butt.[99][2] Three British tabloid newspapers, the Daily Star, the Daily Mail and The Sun, alleged that Materazzi had called Zidane "the son of a terrorist whore." Materazzi took legal action against all three newspapers and the allegations were later withdrawn.[100][101] FIFA later issued a CHF 5,000 fine and a two-match ban against Materazzi. Alongside striker Luca Toni, Materazzi was Italy's top scorer throughout the tournament with two goals; he also won 14 challenges throughout the competition.[102]

UEFA Euro 2008

Under Roberto Donadoni, Materazzi appeared consistently during the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign and became a starter after Alessandro Nesta's retirement.[103] In the UEFA Euro 2008 tournament,[104] he started in the 3-0 loss to the Netherlands but was substituted in the 54th minute in what would later prove to be his final appearance for Italy, as he was replaced later in the tournament by Giorgio Chiellini.[105] Later, after Lippi's return, Materazzi was not called in the national team again.[106] He totaled 41 appearances and 2 goals for Italy.[107]

Style of play

An aggressive, physical, and hard-tackling centre-back, who was also known for his tight marking of opponents,[4] Materazzi was considered to be one of the best defenders of his generation, and was highly regarded by two of the world's most respected coaches, Marcello Lippi and José Mourinho, later becoming close friends with both managers.[108] Materazzi was lauded by his managers in particular for being a goal threat as a defender, due to his outstanding aerial ability, which made him dangerous during set pieces.[12] His prolific goalscoring allowed him to capture the record for most goals in a Serie A season by a defender, which was broken during the 2000-01 season.[12] He was also an accurate set piece and penalty kick taker, with a powerful shot from distance.[12] In addition to these attributes, he had solid technical skills and reliable distribution, and was known for frequently playing long balls to the strikers.[4] During his time with Internazionale, he developed the nickname Matrix.[109][110]

Personal life

Marco Materazzi was born in Lecce, where his father, Giuseppe, a professional footballer, was playing for U.S. Lecce.[8] Giuseppe was also a former football coach and manager of teams such as Pisa, Lazio, Sporting CP and Tianjin Teda. Materazzi's mother died when he was 15 years old.[8] His sister, Monia married Maurizio Maestrelli, the son of former manager Tommaso Maestrelli; Maurizio died on 28 November 2011.[111] His brother Matteo is a sports agent.

As stated by his father, Marco grew up a supporter of Lazio.[112] In September 2007, he released his autobiography called "Una vita da guerriero" (The Life of a Warrior) published by journalists Andrea Elefante (from Gazzetta dello Sport) and Roberto De Ponti (from Corriere della Sera).[113]

Materazzi was married on 23 June 1997 to Daniela, with whom he has three children: Anna, Davide and Gianmarco.[114][115]

Career statistics



Club statistics
Club Season League Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Messina 1990-91 Serie B 1 0 0 0 -- -- 1 0
Tor di Quinto 1991-92 Serie D 0 0 0 0 -- -- 0 0
1992-93 12 0 0 0 -- -- 12 0
Total 12 0 0 0 -- -- 12 0
Marsala 1993-94 Serie D 25 4 0 0 -- -- 25 4
Trapani 1994-95 Serie C 13 2 0 0 -- -- 13 2
Perugia 1995-96 Serie B 1 0 0 0 -- -- 1 0
1996-97 Serie A 14 2 0 0 -- -- 14 2
1997-98 Serie B 33 5 2 0 -- -- 35 5
Total 47 7 2 0 -- -- 49 7
Carpi (loan) 1996-97 Serie C 18 7 0 0 -- -- 18 7
Everton 1998-99 Premier League 27 1 6[a] 1 -- -- 33 2
Perugia 1999-2000 Serie A 21 3 2 0 1[b] 0 -- 24 3
2000-01 30 12 2 0 1[b] 0 -- 33 12
Total 51 15 4 0 2 0 -- 57 15
Internazionale 2001-02 Serie A 23 1 1 0 8[c] 1 -- 32 2
2002-03 20 1 0 0 13[d] 0 -- 33 1
2003-04 14 3 0 0 4[d] 0 -- 18 3
2004-05 26 0 5 0 9[d] 0 -- 40 0
2005-06 22 2 6 0 10[d] 0 1[e] 0 39 2
2006-07 28 10 2 0 6[d] 0 1[e] 0 39 10
2007-08 23 1 4 0 3[d] 0 1[e] 0 33 1
2008-09 8 0 2 0 5[d] 1 0 0 15 1
2009-10 12 0 4 0 4[d] 0 0 0 20 0
2010-11 8 0 1 0 1[d] 0 1[e] 0 11 0
Total 184 18 25 0 63 2 4 0 276 20
Chennaiyin 2014 Indian Super League 7 0 0 0 -- -- 7 0
Career total 385 55 37 1 65 2 4 0 491 58
  1. ^ Two appearances in FA Cup, four appearances and one goal in EFL Cup
  2. ^ a b All appearance(s) in UEFA Intertoto Cup
  3. ^ All appearance(s) in UEFA Cup
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i All appearance(s) in UEFA Champions League
  5. ^ a b c d Appearance in Supercoppa Italiana



Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Italy 2001 4 0
2002 5 0
2003 1 0
2004 8 0
2005 7 0
2006 10 2
2007 4 0
2008 2 0
Total 41 2

International goals

Italy score listed first, score column indicates score after each Materazzi goal.[107]

International goals by date, venue, cap, opponent, score, result and competition
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition
1 22 June 2006 Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany 29  Czech Republic 1-0 2-0 2006 FIFA World Cup
2 9 July 2006 Olympiastadion, Berlin, Germany 32  France 1-1 1-1 (5-3 p) 2006 FIFA World Cup Final


All competitive league games (league and domestic cup) and international matches (including friendlies) are included.

As of 2 December 2016
Team Nat Year Record
G W D L Win %
Chennaiyin India 2014-2016 47 19 12 16 040.43
Career Total 47 19 12 16 040.43











  • Friedrich Order.png
    CONI: Golden Collar of Sports Merit: 2006[121]


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