Zidane is glad he was sent off in 2006 World Cup final


France legend Zinedine Zidane claims he “could never have lived with himself” had Italy lost the World Cup in 2006 following his headbutt against Marco Materazzi in the final.

Zidane was redcarded for head-butting Materazzi in the 2006 final, the last match of his career, which Italy won 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. The former Bordeaux, Juventus and Real Madrid ace claims he is happy with the outcome of the incident when he was shown his marching orders in the Berlin final. Zidane says he would never have been able to live normally had Les Bleus lifted the FIFA trophy following his act of violence.

“It was good that the incident ended this way. [Gianluigi] Buffon was right to signal to the linesman what had happened because what I did was not very nice,” Zidane told France Football magazine.

“Honestly I don’t know how I could have lived with myself with this weight on my conscience had I stayed on the pitch and France won the World Cup. I would have felt bad this is for sure.

“It would have been difficult to have lived with this gesture had France become World Champions.”

Zidane, who helped France win the World Cup in 1998, thought there had been an overreaction to Thierry Henry’s handball that led to France beating Ireland in November and securing a place in the 2010 World Cup.

“Many people outside football got involved, people who love you when you lift trophies and let you donw when things go wrong. I’m certain Henry is not proud of his gesture.”