MARCO REVEALS RANGERS SNUB
By Dominique Antognoni
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
INTERNAZIONALE defender Marco Materazzi has revealed he had an offer from Rangers, when leaving Everton, and admits he would only return to Britain to play for a London side.
The former Perugia centre back, a hit during his stint at Goodison, does admit money paid a big part in tempting him to Merseyside, and feels that Serie A is the place to be, as far as furthering his international aspirations are concerned.
When asked by planetfootball.com if he moved to Everton for financial reasons, he replied: "Yes, they offered me ten times more than I earned with Perugia, and I wanted to earn a lot to pay for my new house.
"The fans were okay. The players, some of them said, more or less, 'go back to Italy, what are you doing here?'
"They are very nationalistic in England. I was even sent off twice, only because I am Italian, I am sure about this.
"I remember, once against Coventry, I was sent off for nothing, a foul against (Darren) Huckerby that I didn't commit.
"I was there only with my wife and son, who at that time was less than one year old. It was difficult for my wife, but we always stayed together, at home, and this was nice. Only us.
"I had a lot of offers when I left, even from Scotland, from Rangers, but is there any place in the world like Italy?
"Maybe I could go to England again, but only to London."
The 28-year-old returned to Perugia, before joining Inter in the summer, despite interest from other Serie A giants.
"Inter were very insistent," he declared. "Lazio and Juventus, even if they told me they were interested, never moved seriously.
"There are not so many differences today between Perugia and Inter. All clubs in Serie A have a wonderful training centre, not like before.
"Of course, the target is different.
"I had a wonderful season last year, I even scored 12 goals. I was the captain so I arrived here after I did very good things.
"I mean I can say that I deserved the transfer here. And then, with so many new players this season, even the coach, you have the feeling that everybody is at the beginning.
"To be a leader is not meaning to be the boss. A leader is a leader everywhere, to be a boss is not the same. It is a bad thing, and me I was never a boss in Perugia."
Materazzi agrees that Rio Ferdinand, the Leeds United skipper, would be a success in Italy, as when asked if he was the only English defender who could play in Italy, he replied: "Yes, he is fantastic. He never loses a ball."
As for his international aspirations, the man on the brink of the Azzurri national side is realistic, ahead of the 2002 World Cup finals.
"I am only a substitute but the main players are Alessandro Nesta, Fabio Cannavaro and Paolo Maldini," he stated. "The best three in the world.
"My best quality is my tactical intelligence, but I do not have good pace.
"I love playing with the national team, like a libero with two sweepers near me. But I can play even in a four-man defence, like at Inter."