Zidane makes no apology
France legend Zinedine Zidane has stated that he would ¿rather die¿ than say sorry to Marco Materazzi
By Mike Barton
Last Updated: 01/03/10 2:19pm
France legend Zinedine Zidane has stated that he would "rather die" than say sorry to Marco Materazzi after attacking him in the 2006 World Cup final.
Zidane shocked the world in the final game of his glittering career when he turned round to headbutt the Italian in the chest due to the defender allegedly insulting his mother.
The three-time World Player of the Year scored a penalty in the first half of the game to give France the lead, but his moment of madness in extra-time meant he would miss the penalty shootout with the score at 1-1, which the French would go on to lose.
"Of course I reproach myself," Zidane told El Pais.
"But if I say 'sorry', I would also be admitting that what he did himself 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.
"If it was Kaka, a regular guy, a good guy, of course I would have apologised.
"If I ask him forgiveness, I lack respect for myself and to all those I hold dear with all my heart."
The former Real Madrid and Juventus midfielder confessed that he was sorry for his actions in world football's ultimate showpiece, but his contempt for the comments Materazzi made almost four years ago clearly has not withered over time.
"I apologise to football, to the fans, to the team," he added.
"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."
The 37-year-old, who was part of the original 'Galactico' era at Real, now acts as special advisor to the man who brought him there, Florentino Perez.
And Zidane was quick to praise Real's new era of 'Galactico's,' including star man Cristiano Ronaldo, hailing his ability to perform despite the pressure on his shoulders.
"Cristiano Ronaldo wants to be the best. And he says so," he said.
"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, he doesn't care. The opposite, he likes it."