Italy defender Marco Materazzi has won libel damages from a British tabloid over reports that he racially abused Zinedine Zidane before the Frenchman was sent off in the World Cup final for headbutting him.
|More than two years on, the Zidane headbutt saga refuses to die [AFP]
Although the amount of damages was not disclosed, the Inter Milan star successfully sued the Daily Mail for wrongly reporting that Materazzi had called Zidane "the son of a terrorist whore" before the French star butted the Italian's chest in extra time.
Zidane was sent off and Italy went on to win the title in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw in Berlin's Olympic Stadium in Germany.
Materazzi's lawyer for the case, Jane Phillips, told the judge that, in its coverage of the July 2006 World Cup final, the newspaper published a series of items accompanied by photos, including one of Materazzi being headbutted by Zidane, captioned "Revealed: the insult that made Zidane see red".
Phillips said the articles stated quite wrongly that Materazzi, who scored Italy's goal in the final, had used "vile, racist abuse" during the match.
From July to December that year, she said, it also published articles on its website which included similar defamatory material.
Phillips told the judge the newspaper accepted that all of the allegations were wholly untrue and that there was no question of Materazzi having said anything of a racist nature to Zidane to goad him.
Jonathan Price, lawyer for the Daily Mail owners, said that it offered its apologies for the distress and embarrassment caused, and had agreed to pay Materazzi substantial damages and his costs.
Materazzi did not appear at the hearing on Monday.