Monday, 29 January 2007

Materazzi in new head-butt storm

Marco Materazzi has been engulfed in another head-butt row after an incident in Inter's 2-0 win at Sampdoria on Sunday. Gennaro Del Vecchio was sent off after a butt on the veteran defender, but later claimed he had been provoked.

Materazzi provoked a storm of controversy in the World Cup final, when France's Zinedine Zidane's career ended in shame following his assault on the Italy defender.

Zidane claimed Materazzi insulted his family, and Del Vecchio also insisted the Inter man was far from an innocent party.

"First of all I would like to apologise to all Italians because, even if there was provocation, I did not have to react that way," said Del Vecchio.

The defender rushed to confront Del Vecchio after he appeared to kick out at Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar, and fell to the floor after the Samp man made contact with Materazzi's chin as he stood up.

"He said that I wanted to hurt Adriano and Julio Cesar, that is not true. If he had spoken to me in a different way I wouldn't have reacted that badly. What I did was wrong, but you should read Materazzi's lips," Del Vecchio said.

Unsurprisingly, the Inter man took a differerent view, saying: "I did nothing wrong, I only told him to stop it."

"Before he was sent off, there had already been a bad challenge on Adriano and immediately after that he did the same thing with our goalkeeper.

"I like aggressive football, but when you see that the goalkeeper has the ball in his hands I think you should stop."

"When I saw what he did to Julio Cesar I went to Del Vecchio and told him to stop it, but he hit me with his head. I had a cut in my mouth and it was bleeding."

Sampdoria coach Walter Novellino had little sympathy for his player, saying: "A professional must never do these things. It was already difficult to face Inter in 11 men, but we had played well. I cannot tolerate Del Vecchio's behaviour and he has no justification for it."

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