MILAN – Marco Materazzi has been inducted into the Inter Hall of Fame. The defender, who was born in Lecce on 19 July 1973, is the second former Inter player to receive the honour as part of the 2021 edition, after Gianluca Pagliuca was inducted last month. Materazzi joins a trio of defenders who had already had the prestigious accolade bestowed upon them: Javier Zanetti, Giacinto Facchetti and Giuseppe Bergomi.
The announcement of the winner in defence takes us one step closer to completing the 2021 inductees. Votes were cast in November to determine the four winners, with one announced per month. A midfielder will be inaugurated in February, while a forward will complete the line-up in March.
“Tutti pazzi per Materazzi” (we're all crazy about Materazzi) was a memorable chant that the Nerazzurri faithful always sang to welcome the defender on to the pitch, with the fans showing once again that the connection is still strong, as they voted the man nicknamed Matrix into the Hall of Fame in recognition of his status as the most famous number 23 in the club’s history. Materazzi registered an impressive 20 goals from defence in 276 appearances for Inter during a decade of glory.
His debut was on 27 August 2001 against Perugia, the club where he set a record for the most goals scored by a defender in a single Serie A season, having notched 12 goals in 2000/01 (one more than Daniel Passarella and two more than Facchetti).
Materazzi scored 20 goals for Inter, half of which came in 2006/07 straight after the World Cup. Having helped Italy reach the top of the world, Matrix led the Nerazzurri to Scudetto glory, notching a crucial brace in the title-clincher away to Siena. A goalscoring defender who was dangerous in the air and had a bullet of a left foot, Materazzi battled as hard as anyone in every game and endeared himself to the Inter faithful with his passionate celebrations.
A haul of five Scudetti, four Coppe Italia, four Italian Super Cups, one Champions League and one Club World Cup is quite staggering, with Materazzi also playing a key role in the treble-winning year as he played in the Coppa Italia final against Roma and in the final league game of the campaign against Siena. He was even brought on in stoppage time of the 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in Madrid to shore things up and show the world his relentless passion for Inter.
“Being inducted into the Inter Hall of Fame is a dream come true for me. I’m so proud to see my name alongside legends such as Javier, Giacinto and Beppe. They really made history!” explained Materazzi.
“I’ve always had a special relationship with the Inter fans. I feel I’ve always set a good example and they’ve done the same with me. The most important thing for the supporters is giving your all for the jersey. I wasn’t born an Interista, but I’ll certainly die an Interista! It’s a privilege and an honour.
“The moment in my career that makes me the proudest is when I became a world champion as an Inter player, as well as being the only player in the club’s history to date to have been a world champion with Italy and with Inter.”
INTER HALL OF FAME:
2018 edition: Walter Zenga; Javier Zanetti; Lothar Matthaus; Ronaldo.
2019 edition: Francesco Toldo; Giacinto Facchetti; Dejan Stankovic; Giuseppe Meazza.
2020 edition: Julio Cesar; Giuseppe Bergomi; Esteban Cambiasso; Diego Milito.
2021 edition: Gianluca Pagliuca, Marco Materazzi.