Former French footballing star Zinedine Zidane says he regrets having headbutted Marco Materazzi during the 2006 World Cup final but he'd rather die than apologize to the Italian defender.

In an interview with Spanish daily El Pais published Monday, Zidane recalls the infamous incident with a sense of shame, saying he apologizes to football, to the fans, to the team but never to Materazzi.

The headbutt came in Zidane's last match after a sparkling career in which he became one of the game's most respected players.

But in the 20th minute of extra time of the grueling game, Materazzi insulted Zidane, who responded by headbutting the Italian violently in the chest. Zidane consequently got sent off and from the sideline saw France lose the match.

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