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Old 07-12-2006, 09:15 PM   #196
SirPresident
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PARIS (Reuters) - Zinedine Zidane said on Wednesday that Italian defender Marco Materazzi insulted his mother and his sister during the World Cup final against Italy.

The French captain reacted to the insult by head-butting Materazzi's chest in the second period of extra time of the match. He was sent off.

"He (Materazzi) pronounced very tough words about my mother and my sister. I tried not to listen to him but he kept repeating them," Zidane said in a live interview on French television channel Canal Plus.

Zidane offered an apology to all children and to all fans for his behavior but he said he did not regret it.

"This was not something to do. I want to make it clear because it was watched by two billion people and by millions of kids," Zidane said.

"I want to apologize to them but I can't regret what I did because it would mean that he (Materazzi) was right to say what he said."

Playing the last game of his career, Zinedine was shown a red card, leaving his team mates to finish the match without him. France lost on penalties.

Zidane denied Materazzi called him an Islamic "terrorist", as was reported by a Paris-based anti-racism group.

Zidane is of Algerian origin, his parents being born in the village of Aguemone in the Kabylie region.

FIFA decided on Tuesday to open a disciplinary investigation to clarify the circumstances surrounding the incident and Sepp Blatter, the chairman of the soccer's ruling body, hinted that Zidane could be stripped of the tournament's best player award.
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