Zidane vows never to apologise to Materazzi

France legend Zinedine Zidane "would rather die" than apologise to Marco Materazzi, who he headbutted during the 2006 World Cup final.

World football was left stunned when Zidane, in the last game of his career, attacked Materazzi in extra time - an action which saw the France captain duly dismissed.

Italy went on to win the World Cup in a penalty shoot-out and while Zidane admits he regrets what he did, he insists he will never apologise to Materazzi because of the insults against his mother which he claims provoked the headbutt.

"Of course I reproach myself," Zidane told El Pais. "But, if I say 'sorry', I would also be admitting that what he himself did was normal. And for me it was not normal.

"Things happen on the pitch. It's happened to me many times. But I could not stand it there. Because moreover...it is not an excuse. But my mother was ill. She was in hospital. This people did not know.

"But it was a bad time. More than once they insulted my mother and I never responded. But there...and it happened.

"And to apologise for this...if it was Kaka, a regular guy, a good guy, of course I would have apologised. But to this one...

"If I ask him forgiveness, I lack respect to myself and to all those I hold dear with all my heart.

"I apologise to football, to the fans, to the team... After the game, I went into the dressing room and told them, 'Forgive me. This doesn't change anything. But sorry everyone'.

"But to him I cannot. Never, never...it would be to dishonour me...I'd rather die.

"There are evil people. And I don't even want to hear those guys speak."

Zidane's actions stunned the world as not only was the France captain a footballing icon but he had also steered well away from controversy during his distinguished career.

The 37-year-old lists two Serie A titles with Juventus and two Primera Division titles and a Champions League with Real Madrid as well as the 1998 World Cup among his trophy haul.

Zidane, who joined Real Madrid in their first 'galacticos' era, is now special advisor to president Florentino Perez.

And the former midfielder has hailed Madrid's latest crop of expensive players - including world record buy Cristiano Ronaldo.

He said: "Cristiano Ronaldo wants to be the best. And he says so.

"It's one thing to say it and another to do it. He says it and then gets up early to go to training at eight in the morning, two hours before scheduled. And he stays there six hours.

"People say he is a show-off, but he's noble. A good lad and worker. Playing every three days you can't do silly things and he knows it.

"And if they jeer him, he doesn't care. The opposite, he likes it!"

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders