Zidane apologises for headbutt

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Zinedine Zidane has apologised on French TV for his actions on the World Cup final, Wednesday - but the apology did not extend to his victim. Zidane had headbutted Italian player Marco Materazzi and was sent off after 110 minutes play.

But on French television Zidane showed remorse for his behaviour. "I want to ask for forgiveness from all the children who watched," he said.

It was expected that Zidane would reveal what provoked him into the headbutt. However, Zidane refused to divulge what Materazzi actually said but did say that Materazzi made remarks which were "very personal" and specifically concerned his mother and sister.

Materazzi had earlier admitted that he insulted Zidane, but denied any remarks on Zidane's mother or having made a racial slur.

"I didn't insult his mother. I lost my mother when I was 15 years old and still get emotional when I talk about it."

"Zidane is my hero and I have always admired him a lot," said Materazzi.

While the French star's comments contradicted Materazzi's view Zidane also refused to apologise to Materazzi for his on-field assault. "I want to apologise to them [the children] but I can't regret what I did because it would mean that he [Materazzi] was right to say what he said".

The partial apology comes as FIFA President Sept Blatter said Zidane may be stripped of his Golden Ball award for the tournament's best player. FIFA set up a disciplinary committee to investigate Zidane's violent conduct.

After the red card to Zidane, Italy went on to win the final on penalty kicks.