French football icon Zinedine Zidane yesterday said he was sorry for head-butting an Italian opponent during the World Cup final against
But he said in a French television interview that defender Marco Materazzi had deserved it for insulting him with some “very hard words” aimed at sullying his mother and sister.
“I want to ask for forgiveness from all the children who watched that. There was no excuse for it,” he said.
“I want to be open and honest about it because it was seen by two or three billion people watching on television and millions and millions of children were watching.
Asked what exactly Materazzi had said, Zidane would only offer that it was “very personal and concerned his mother and his sister.”
“You hear those things once and you try to walk away. That’s what I wanted to do because I am retiring. You hear it a second time and then a third time ...” Dispatch Online reports.
In an interview published on Thursday by Corriere della Sera,
Asked what had sparked Zidane's reaction in
Pressed on whether he had insulted Zidane's mother and sister, as widely reported, he said: "I exclude any insults to (his) mother. I lost my own mother when I was 15 years old. I would never insult anyone by having a go at their mother."
Speaking on French television on Wednesday, Zidane did not repeat what Materazzi had said to him, but hinted it had to do with his sister and his mother.
"These were very personal things," Zidane said. "They had to do with my mother, my sister. He said words that were very hard, and he repeated them several times. You listen once, and you try to go away. That's what I did. You hear it a second time, and then a third time."
Materazzi claims Zidane was the first to start the argument on the pitch and insists he could have done nothing to avoid being headbutted in the chest, iol.co.za says.
Zidane, 34, said that it was understandable that Fifa, the sport’s world governing body, was investigating the incident, but he insisted that Materazzi should be punished. “The guilty one is the one who created the provocation,” he said. “I have had enough of the reaction always being punished.
Materazzi, who was knocked to the ground by the butt to the chest, has acknowledged that he insulted Zidane, but he denied that he called him a terrorist or impugned his mother. And last night he said: “I didn’t mention anything about religion, politics or racism. I didn’t insult his mother. I lost my mother when I was 15. Naturally, I didn’t know that his mother was in hospital but I wish her all the best, timesonline.co.uk reports.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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