French football legend Zinedine Zidane continues to refuse to say sorry to Italy’s Marco Materazzi, whom he head-butted during the final of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
“I say I’m sorry to football, to the fans, to the team,” Zidane said in an interview for the Spanish daily El Pais published on Monday. “After the match I went into the changing room and I told them, ‘Sorry. This does not change anything. But I’m sorry, everyone.”
“But with him I can’t. Never, never. It would be to dishonour myself,” Zidane added. “I’d rather die.”
That match was also the last that Zidane ever played before retiring, and it ended a brilliant career in a painful way: with a defeat and a red card for the aggression against Materazzi.
Zidane continued to revisit that day in Germany, without however giving details of what set off a usually calm player.
“If I say I’m sorry I would also be admitting that what (Materazzi) did was normal. And for me it was not normal. Things happen on the pitch. It happened to me many times. But there I could not stand it,” he explained.
Materazzi reportedly insulted Zidane’s mother.
“People insulted my mother more than once and I never reacted. But then ... it just happened,” he said. “If it had been Kaka, a normal guy, a good guy, of course I would have said I was sorry. But this guy! If I say I’m sorry I’d be disrespecting myself and all those I love with all my heart.”