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Zidane set to comment on head-butt in TV

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    Posted: 12 July 2006 at 4:44am

Zidane to give version of head-butt in TV interview


PARIS: French football skipper Zinedine Zidane is to give his version of the notorious World Cup final headbutt in an appearance on Canal Plus television later on Wednesday.

In a live interview to be broadcast at 8.00 p.m. (1800 GMT), the captain is expected to explain the nature of the slur hurled at him before Sunday's incident by Italian player Marco Materazzi.

Materazzi, who was knocked to the ground by the extra-time butt to the chest, has acknowledged that he insulted Zidane -- but denied that he called him a terrorist or impugned his mother.

However, some observers have speculated that Materazzi taunted the star midfielder, whose parents immigrated to France from Algeria, with a racist insult.

Lip-readers consulted by British newspapers concluded that Materazzi called Zidane the "son of a terrorist whore."

Despite feverish speculation over the reasons for his gesture, France's favourite footballing hero has received overwhelming support from the public -- with 61 percent telling a national newspaper that they forgive him and 52 percent that they understand his behaviour.

Top politicians have also indicated that the incident must not be allowed to overshadow Zidane's status as role-model and world-class athlete -- with president Jacques Chirac hailing him as a "virtuoso, a genius of world football."


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