Home Analysis #15 – Marco “Matrix” Materazzi

#15 – Marco “Matrix” Materazzi

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In our countdown of the Top 20 Inter players in the last 20 years, we recognise treble winning defender Marco Materazzi in 15th spot.

Materazzi will go down as one of the most controversial footballers in history. Anytime someone thinks of Materazzi, the Zidane headbutt comes straight to mind in that legendary World Cup final.

Let’s explore Marco’s Inter career a bit further.

Lucky break is his career –  

Materazzi’s story is a pretty inspiring one considering he was 28 when he joined Inter. I’m not sure if there has been another player who has won a Champions League title and also played in Serie A, B, C and D throughout their career. A pretty incredible fact!

In the season prior to signing for Inter, Materazzi was playing at Serie A strugglers Perugia. He impressed the entire league as he broke the Serie A record for most goals in a season by a defender with twelve.

Inter signed Materazzi from Perugia for €10mil the following season, and he took the number 23 at Inter as Marco was obsessed with Michael Jordan. As we know, that is the number Jordan made famous in the NBA playing for the Bulls.

This was the first time that Materazzi would play for a team who had inspirations in both Europe and the top division in their respective country. Inter have always been a massive heavyweight and especially throughout Materazzi’s career.

Marco would finish with 15 trophies during his time at Inter including 5 x Serie A titles, 4 x Coppa Italia, 4 x Supercoppa Italiana, 1 x Champions League and 1 x Club World Cup. Also on an individual level winning Serie A Defender of the Year award in 2007.

What made him special?

If you look back on Materazzi’s career, he adapted this talent to be in the right place at the right time. It’s not very often a defender scores goals but Matrix made a habit of it. Especially crucial goals throughout his whole career.

Back in 2006/07, Inter had an absolute hot steak where they won 17 matches in a row. Materazzi played in 12 of these matches and score 5 crucial goals to along the way. Materazzi had his best year at Inter in this exact season where he scored 10 goals. This was also the season where he won Serie A Defender of the Year.

If it wasn’t his goal scoring talents, Marco also had a knack of getting under his oppositions skin.

There was something which his teammates loved, and that opponents just absolutely hated. It may have been the mouth which just didn’t stop for 90 minutes or may have been the physicality of his defending.

For those who never saw Materazzi play, it was like the football pitch was a war zone, and if you were on the other team then you were the enemy. He would do anything it took to get a positive result for the team even if it made himself look bad.

Also adding in the mix Materazzi’s dominating stature standing at 193cms (6’4), he didn’t care who he hurt as long as the ball didn’t get past him.

Credit to Materazzi though, since he only received 6 red cards in 276 competitive matches for Inter. A defending style from the past, but a fan favourite for sure!

Controversy –

This article wouldn’t be accurate if we didn’t mention the issues during Materazzi’s career.

Firstly during a match against Siena, Materazzi confronted Cirillo who was former player of Inter a couple of years before. Marco for the entire second half of the match was mouthing off at Cirillo and then invited him into the tunnel.

Next thing you know Materazzi throws a punch and Cirillo is seen with a fat bleeding lip moments later. Unfortunately a suspension would come where Marco would miss over 10 games across all competitions.

The next incident would come a couple of years later during a match with his own team mates. Not sure if Siena was Materazzi’s curse, but the same team would cause another forgettable moment.

This match was the second last matchday of the 2007/08 season, and if Inter had won they would’ve claim the Scudetto. Inter received a penalty with the score at 2-2 in the 80th minute. Julio Cruz grabs the ball to take the penalty before an argument breaks out with Materazzi, as he wrongly wanted to take the penalty.

A bit of words go back and forth before Materazzi decides he will be taking the penalty. Unfortunately Materazzi would miss and so would Inter at securing the Scudetto on this day. Final score 2-2, but luckily Inter won the next week to claim the Scudetto.

Who’s next?

We will be visiting number 14 next on our countdown. Who would you like to see in that number 14 spot for the Top 20 Inter players in the past 20 years?

As always Forza Inter!