The 2006 World Cup witnessed one of the most dramatic events in football history as Zinedine Zidane was sent off for the infamous headbutt incident with former Italy defender Marco Materazzi in the final. Although the 2006 World Cup final was announced as the last game for Zinedine Zidane, the Real Madrid boss seemingly left his then-teammate Willy Sagnol frustrated. The Zidane headbutt incident had a big impact on the friendship between Willy Sagnol who did not speak with his former teammate for over two years.
Before the tournament, Zidane announced that he would retire from the sport after leading France into the grand tournament. Zidane was 34 at the time and played an instrumental role in helping France reach the 2006 World Cup final. The stage for the 2006 World Cup final vs Italy was set for Zidane to bow out as a world champion for the second time in his career.
The limelight was on Zidane once again as his panenka penalty gave France the lead in the 2006 World Cup final but Marco Materazzi equalised for Italy inside 19 minutes. The game went into extra time and following an exchange of words with the then French captain, Materazzi was struck with a Zidane headbutt into his chest. The 'Zidane headbutt' earned the Frenchman his marching orders and Italy won the game on penalties.
"2006 Dünya Kupası'nda Zidane, Materazzi'ye kafa atıp kırmızı kart gördüğü için soyunma odasında özür diledi. Ben özrünü kabul etmedim. Bizi hayal kırıklığına uğrattı. O an tuvalete gittim ve 10 dakikada 250 sigara içtim." (Radio Montecarlo)— futbol.merak (@futbol_merak) April 11, 2020
👤 Willy Sagnol pic.twitter.com/oL0QdP3rPr
Following the final, Zidane apologised to Willy Sagnol but the former Bayern Munich star was having none of it. Sagnol admitted that he smoked 250 cigarettes in 10 minutes in the bathroom as he was extremely disappointed with Zidane. The 43-year-old Sagnol revealed that the incident left a massive scar on their friendship.
Two years after the headbutt incident, Sagnol was preparing to tie the knot and his wife requested Zidane to be present for the ceremony. It was just after the 2008 European championships but Zidane failed to make it for the event that night. However, the pair met for a drink in the morning and Sagnol was pleased to see his former captain. After a healthy conversation, the duo reportedly returned to being on good terms with each other.