David Beckham says Zinedine Zidane pulled out of Saturday’s UNICEF Match for Children because the France great was his devastated by the attacks in Paris.
Zidane, a former team-mate of Beckham’s at Real Madrid, was supposed to line up for the Rest of the World coached by Carlo Ancelotti against a Great Britain and Ireland team managed by Alex Ferguson.
However, Zidane and fellow former France international Patrick Viera pulled out of the event before kick-off at Old Trafford.
Their withdrawal came following the atrocities in the French capital, with officials reporting that 129 people were killed and a further 99 critically injured following what appeared to be co-ordinated terror acts.
Beckham offered his sympathy to the victims, while stating his understanding for Zidane’s decision.
“There was slight concern once the news hit last night. It’s terribly devastating to see,” Beckham – who finished his playing career with Paris Saint-Germain – told reporters after the match, which finished 3-1 in Great Britain and Ireland’s favour.
“I understood why Zizou took the decision not to play. He was very respectful to me but I totally understood. He’s a friend and also a very passionate man.
“It hit him very hard. Everyone, the managers, players and everyone involved sends their condolences. Our hearts go out to everyone in Paris.”
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