Zidane explains head-butt

2006-07-12 19:50
Paris - French football icon Zinedine Zidane on Wednesday said he was sorry for head-butting an Italian opponent during the World Cup final against Italy.

But he said in a French television interview that defender Marco Materazzi had brought on the gesture by insulting him with some "very hard words."

"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 say that it was "very personal and concerned his mother and his sister."

Zidane was sent-off for the head-butt to Materazzi's chest in the second period of extra-time in Sunday's final in Berlin.

Italy went on to win the World Cup on penalties after the match had finished tied at 1-1 after extra-time.

While Italians celebrated their fourth World Cup crown, France and the rest of the world wondered just what had made the 34-year-old skipper and footballing genius act in the violent way he did in what was the final game of his career.

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