Ten years after his infamous headbutt on Italian defender Marco Materazzi which earned him a red-card, retired France football great Zinedine Zidane today expressed regret over the incident in the 2006 World Cup final.
Zinedine Zidane in Mumbai. Pic/PTI
"I am not proud of what happened in 2006. I am not advising anyone (player) to behave in the same manner," said the 43-year-old Zidane to a query at the fag end of a press meet here.
The final was the French football legend's last ever appearance as a player.
Zidane, who guided France to its first-ever World Cup title in 1998 with two goals in the summit clash against Brazil, is on his first ever visit to India with his wife Veronique as "wellness ambassador" of "Kanakia Paris", which is a French-themed residential project coming up in the Bandra-Kurla Complex.
The three-time FIFA player of the year was answering a query on what advice he gives to the players of famous Spanish club Real Madrid as the manager when confronted with a similar situation.
"I tell them you have to control yourself as provocation will always be there (from rival players). But it's part of life to make mistakes, but you have to learn from your mistakes," said Zidane, who guided Real Madrid to the UEFA Champions League crown this year on his debut as the club's manager.
Zidane, among the greatest footballers in the history of the "Beautiful Game", said winning the Champions League as manager of Real Madrid gave him a "huge satisfaction" while as a player it was "wonderful" to win it (in 2002).
"Training all the team (members) is amazing," he quipped when asked to compare the two achievements.
Asked what mantra did he use to motivate the players of Real Madrid when he took over as its manager, Zidane said, "I used my experience as a player, told them to work extra hard and to work on relationship with other players in the squad."