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Materazzi praises Nesta

08 Jul 2006 - 10:42:27

Marco Materazzi has paid tribute to the contribution injured central defender Alessandro Nesta has made to Italy's World Cup campaign.

Nesta has not played since suffering a groin injury in the Azzurri's final group game against Czech Republic and will miss Sunday's final against France in Berlin.

The AC Milan star also sat out crucial matches in the 1998 and 2002 finals because of fitness problems and Materazzi has nothing but sympathy for his plight, even though it has handed him the chance to partner Fabio Cannavaro in the final.

"It is another strange World Cup for him, every time he gets injuries," said the Inter hardman.

"He is a fantastic lad. When I was sent off against Australia (in the second round) he left the bench and came to console me in the dressing room, which was a lovely gesture.

"He's a model professional and a great player."


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