"Materazzi insulted my mother, sister": Zidane

Zinedine Zidane.
PARIS: French soccer star Zinedine Zidane on Wednesday apologised for head-butting an Italian opponent during the World Cup final, saying he was provoked by insults about his mother and sister.
“I apologise, to all the children” who watched the match on Sunday, Zidane said on French TV in his first, highly-awaited comments about the act of violence that marked the end of his career.
Zidane did not specify exactly what Italian defender Marco Materazzi said that enraged him, but that it was insulting to his sister and mother.
“I would rather have taken a punch in the jaw than have heard that,” Zidane said, stressing that Materazzi’s language was “very harsh.”
Zidane and Materazzi exchanged words after Italy broke up a French attack in extra-time. Seconds later, Zidane lowered his head and rammed Materazzi in the chest, knocking him to the ground.
The French captain said he felt no regret for his act, “because that would mean [Materazzi] was right to say all that.”
Meanwhile, excerpts from an interview that Materazzi gave to Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport were posted on its website.
“I didn’t say anything to him about racism, religion or politics,” Materazzi told the Gazzetta. “I didn’t talk about his mother either … I didn’t know his [mother] was in the hospital, I give her my best wishes … He’s always been my hero, I admire him a lot.” Materazzi has acknowledged he insulted Zidane, without giving specifics. — AP

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