Maxi sorry for Barcelona outburst

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The Independent Football

Atletico Madrid captain Maxi Rodriguez has issued a belated apology following his angry reaction to being substituted against Barcelona on Sunday.

The Argentina international threw his armband at vice-captain Antonio Lopez and then refused to shake the hand of coach Abel Resino after being replaced midway through the second half in Atletico's 4-3 victory.

"I made a mistake and you have to admit the errors that you make," said Maxi.

"I thought that I could help the team and contribute to trying to get the next goal. One gets heated and these things happen.

"I spoke with the manager after the game and asked his forgiveness.

"I've never had any problem with the coach and we are both looking for the best for the team.

"If I have to ask the fans for forgiveness, I'll do it. If I do something wrong, I admit it."

France goalkeeper Gregory Coupet has admitted that he may try and find a new club next summer, having struggled for first-team action at Atletico.

The 36-year-old has made just eight appearances for Atletico this season, having headed to Spain from Lyon a year ago.

He told L'Equipe: "I don't think it was an error, no, because it is above all a family adventure. I felt it necessary to leave to experience something else.

"Of course it is a great disappointment for me not to be playing. But on the other side of it all, my family is doing well. My wife and kids feel better here than they did in France.

"Here I am quite anonymous and it offers you a better quality of life. It's amazing. We can do things which were impossible to do while in France.

"However, I would prefer to be at a smaller club but play. I am already asking myself whether I can interest someone else."

Meanwhile, Villarreal are risking losing a number of players at the end of the season after failing to open talks on new contracts with a host of first-team stars.

Fabricio Fuentes, Pascal Cygan, Sebastien Viera, Robert Pires, Javi Venta and Guille Franco could all leave El Madrigal on free transfers in the summer when their contracts expire.

But despite the lack of talks over a new deal, veteran France midfielder Pires is happy to bide his time.

"It is a decision for the club and president and all I can do is wait for it," he said.

"I have always made my intention to stay at Villarreal known, but I am not in a rush nor nervous. It is something that will happen.

"I am comfortable here and would like to continue, but this is a situation where I can only hope and wait to see what is decided by the club."

Germany coach Joachim Low has urged defender Christoph Metzelder to leave Real Madrid and regain his place in the national team set-up.

The 28-year-old centre-half has made only 18 appearances since moving to Spain from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2007 and has drifted out of the Germany picture as a consequence.

Low told Kicker magazine: "If Christoph wants to get back in the German national team, then he must play either with Real Madrid or another club.

"Without match practice, it will become enormously difficult for him.

"He has played far too little for his club to be considered at the moment. Once he is fit and up-to-speed, then he will be useful for the team."

Metzelder has won nearly 50 caps to date, but has not featured since the final of Euro 2008 last June.