"Things just seem to happen to Marco Materazzi," writes James Richardson of the Guardian. As such, he's become such a cult figure in Italy, that his actions this weekend nearly overshadowed Fabio
Cannavaro's award as FIFA's World Player of the Year. The man they call "Matrix," who was responsible for just about everything that happened in Italy's World Cup final win last summer-including the
Italians' only goal as well as the sending of France's Zinedine Zidane-again made headlines as he became involved in a bizarre touchline scuffle with Messina coach Bruno Giordano, who smacked him on
the head as he took the ball out of Giordano's hands. The referee actually booked Materazzi for the incident. Then, two minutes after halftime, the tall man scored the game's first goal with an
atypically acrobatic-but brilliantly executed-bicycle kick. In response to this unexpected feat of perfection, Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport declared "If even Materazzi's now scoring like this ..."
then it really must be Inter's year. After the match, which Inter won comfortably, 2-0, Materazzi dedicated his goal to the families of two Juventus youth players who drowned on Friday, and added "a
special thought" for "all those who need affection at Christmas time." This from a man who's been caught on camera countless times punching, grabbing and spitting on his opponents, and issuing
unmentionable curses at fellow professionals. Indeed, off-field Materazzi paints himself as a humble, loyal, almost penitent figure compared to his actions on the field.
Read the whole story at The Guardian »