Marco Materazzi just cannot seem to stay out of trouble. Bother follows him around like a bad smell.
He has been called Ã¢ÂÂ with some justification Ã¢ÂÂ the dirtiest player in Italian football since the days of Pasquale Bruno back in the early-rÃ¢ÂÂ90s.
Plenty of opponents' bodies can testify to the power of those size 11s or of that huge flailing arm: Filippo InzaghiÃ¢ÂÂs head, Pablo SorinÃ¢ÂÂs face, Andriy ShevchenkoÃ¢ÂÂs left testicle.The man they call The Matrix doesnÃ¢ÂÂt even need to be on the pitch to mete out some sort of retribution as his former Inter team-mate Bruno Cirillo found out when Mad Marco lamped him in the tunnel at the San Siro.
And he was at it again on Wednesday in a feisty Italian Cup semi-final at Lazio when Goran Pandev became the latest victim.
Even by the big manÃ¢ÂÂs standards of decorum, this was a pretty ruthless assault: the way he scythed the striker down with such bone-crushing brutality you felt that poor PandevÃ¢ÂÂs foot was going to fly off into the stands.
It was a short yet eventful evening for Materazzi who had only been on the pitch 15 minutes as Inter looked to maintain their 1-0 advantage. In that time, however, he managed to upset most of the opposition and engage in a running war of words with the home bench, not to mention pout menacingly at the referee.
His defence? Ã¢ÂÂPandev insulted me so I couldnÃ¢ÂÂt really let it go.Ã¢ÂÂ
ItÃ¢ÂÂs no wonder the Inter fans sing: Ã¢ÂÂTutto pazzi per MaterazziÃ¢ÂÂ (All mad for Materazzi).The lanky hitman will now miss a return to the gladiatorial arena of the Olimpico for the final against AS Roma as he sits out yet another suspension and contemplates finding a spare piece of skin for another tattoo.The weird thing is that away from the pitch and out of kicking range, heÃ¢ÂÂs not a bad fella at all. Once upon hearing a group of English voices struggling over the menu in a Milan restaurant, he sent over a bottle of champagne.
Unfortunately they were ordering pizza but that sort of sums up MarcoÃ¢ÂÂs sense of timing anyway.