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Zinedine Zidane has apologised for the headbutt on Italy's Marco Materazzi which earned him a red card in Sunday's World Cup final penalty shoot-out loss.

 

But the France legend did not reveal what Materazzi said, only confirming that it was "very personal" and concerned his mother and his sister.

 

In a French TV interview, Zidane, 34, said: "I want to ask for forgiveness from all the children who watched that.

 

"There was no excuse for it. I want to be open and honest about it."

 

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

 

Since the incident, rumours have run rife about what Materazzi said to provoke such a reaction from the Frenchman.

 

There were claims the Italian had called Zidane a "terrorist", but Materazzi denied he had made such a slur.

 

In Tuesday's edition of the Italian newspaper La Gazetta dello Sport, Materazzi said: "It was the kind of insult you will hear dozens of times and just slips out of the ground.

 

"I didn't call Zidane a terrorist and certainly didn't mention his mother."

 

Zidane, who was born and grew up in Marseille, is the son of Algerian immigrants and has suffered taunts about his heritage throughout his football career.

 

But Materazzi added: "I am ignorant, I don't even know what an Islamic terrorist is; my only terrorist is her," he said pointing to his 10-month-old daughter.

 

"I did not bring up Zidane's mother; for me a mother is sacred."

 

After Materazzi's insult, Zidane headbutted Materazzi's chest and was sent off, with Italy going on to win the match 5-3 on penalties.

 

"I held his shirt, for only a few seconds," said Materazzi, who had scored Italy's equaliser after Zidane put France ahead from the penalty spot.

 

"He turned towards me and scoffed at me, looking at me with super arrogance, up and down.

 

"He said 'if you really want my shirt, you can have it later.' It's true, I shot back with an insult."

 

Fifa is to investigate Zidane's sending-off while Fifa president Sepp Blatter has hinted the France star could be stripped of his World Cup best player award.

 

Funnily, Materazza said he didn't talk about his mother, but then went on to say "I didn't know his mother was in hospital. I send her my best". He then also said: "Zidane was my hero"...

 

And an e-mail sent into Sky Sports you have to laugh at.. someone suggesting Zidane should of punched him in the face. He would of been sent off either way and it was his last match anyway.

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i personally believe zidane.

 

theres no way he`d have over reacted if he was calling him a poof or something.

 

matterazzi overstepped the mark of insults!

 

Even though we are no closer to knowing the truth I am inclined to agree with you Colsh.

 

The venom that ZZ put into that headbutt suggests that something was said that pissed him off a LOT !!!

 

I think Materrazi is trying to make himself look like some innocent victim in all of this.

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Even though we are no closer to knowing the truth I am inclined to agree with you Colsh.

 

The venom that ZZ put into that headbutt suggests that something was said that pissed him off a LOT !!!

 

I think Materrazi is trying to make himself look like some innocent victim in all of this.

 

indeed,

 

the headbutt speaks volumes if you examine it.

 

matterazzi will possibly come out looking dafter than zidane is in this whole saga!

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He makes a very valid comment in his Canal Plus interview about the provocation is also guilty because without provocation there is no reaction.

 

He says he wanted to apologise but didn't regret his actions because regret would mean he felt what Materrazi said was acceptable.

 

========================================

 

Zinedine Zidane has publicly apologised for his sending off in the World Cup final, but claimed he did not regret his actions against Marco Materazzi.

 

Zidane, who was captaining his country in his final match before retirement, stated that Materazzi insulted his mother and sister in the seconds leading up to the incident, which saw the France midfielder thrust his head into the Italy defender's chest.

 

"I reacted badly and I would like to apologise for it," Zidane told Canal Plus.

 

"I would like to apologise because a lot of children were watching the match. I do apologise but I don't regret my behaviour because regretting it would mean he was right to say what he said.

 

"There was no tension with Materazzi before or during the match.

 

"He just put his hand onto my shirt and I told him to stop. I told him that if he wanted it I could give it to him at the end of the match.

 

"Then he said very harsh words to me and repeated them several times. I left but then I went back towards him and things went very fast.

 

"The words he said concerned my mother and sister.

 

"I heard them once, then twice, and the third time I couldn't control myself. I am a man and some words are harder to hear than actions.

 

"I would have rather been knocked down than hear that.

 

 

"Afterwards I explained to the referee that I had been provoked, but my behaviour is not forgivable," Zidane said.

 

Without Zidane, who had earlier given France the lead with a penalty, extra-time finished with the score locked at 1-1, and Zidane's team lost the penalty shoot-out 5-3 to Italy.

 

Asked whether he plans to attend FIFA hearings into the incident, Zidane said that he would seek to defend himself.

 

"I will go and I will tell everything I have just said," he added.

 

"The reaction is always punished but if there is no provocation there is no reaction. The guilty person is the one who provokes.

 

"If I reacted that way, it is because something bad happened. Do you really believe that 10 minutes before the end of my career I would be able to make such a bad gesture? The provocation was very serious."

 

The incident was a sad way to end what has been a glittering career for Zidane, but he insisted he would not change his mind about retiring.

 

"This is a decision I have made and I will not go back on it," he said. "This is definite. I will not play again."

 

Materazzi himself, who scored the equaliser for Italy on Sunday, made a statement of his own while Zidane was speaking on French television. "I didn't mention anything about religion, politics or racism," he said.

 

"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.

 

"Naturally, I didn't know that his mother was in hospital but I wish her all the best.

 

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

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I'm inclined to believe Zidane's words more than Materazzi's. Why would he lie given that he's now retired. FIFA cant punish him by banning him for any length of time because it's irrelevant. As he said, he reacted to what was being said to him - he's never had a history of unprovoked assualt so why start in the World Cup final??

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I would say from ZZ's reaction it was obvious that Materazzi said something that ZZ felt was way out of line. Also Materazzi has made a career out of being uncompromising (a dirty bastard) as his disciplinary record has shown. ZZ I suppose had no long-term punishment coming his way, but he was 10 minutes from captaining his country to the World Cup, I don't think he would jeopardise that unless it's something pretty serious.

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