The referee who gave Zinedine Zidane his marching orders for headbutting Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final says the decision was difficult but not the most important moment in his career.

Horacio Elizondo took charge of the clash between France and Italy seven years ago, which saw les Bleus' skipper provoked by the Azzurri defender, to which his violent reaction provoked a red card in extra-time.

France survived with a man down until the penalty shoot-out, in which Italy conquered the 1998 champions, but the official does not think that his decision to send off Zidane was the most pivotal in his career.

"[I am remembered] for the sending off as it was the World Cup final and because of the importance of the player, who was the captain of France and the best player in the world," Elizondo, who also took charge of the opening match of the tournament between Germany and Costa Rice, told Goal.

"It was a difficult decision to send him off, but one cannot fail to recognise that the right decision was made.

"Soon there will have been two World Cups since then, but everyone still asks me about that moment. It was a very significant event, but not the most important decision I made in my career."

Zidane is currently part of Real Madrid's coaching staff, having worked behind the scenes for the club in the years following his retirement from playing football.