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´I was an idiot´, Podolski says of Ballack slap

4 April 2009 14:30

BERLIN (AFP) - Germany striker Lukas Podolski admitted on Saturday that he had been an "idiot" for slapping national captain Michael Ballack during a World Cup qualifier against Wales.

"I have to realise that I was an idiot," Podolski told the Bild tabloid of the incident that occurred on Wednesday. "Unfortunately I over-reacted.

"The whole thing is now over. I have no problem with Michael Ballack - we've talked between ourselves."

German footballing legend Franz Beckenbauer, writing in his Bild column, said "this gesture could not be tolerated".

"If a slap given to Michael Ballack had gone unpunished, it would not really have been the right signal sent to the team," he said.

"Apparently, there is something hatching at the heart of the team."

In an attempt to dampen the furore swirling around Podolski, the German football federation announced on Friday that the striker would contribute 5,000 euros towards a fair play initiative organised by the federation.

Podolski, who had disagreed with Ballack over tactics, has received the support of his club manager Jurgen Klinsmann, himself a former striker for the German team.

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