The former Real Madrid star admitted to sending exploitative images of children to three women
Ex-Germany defender Christoph Metzelder has been given a suspended 10-month prison sentence for sharing child pornography images.
The 40-year-old admitted to sharing the files with three women on WhatsApp during his appearance at a Dusseldorf court on Thursday.
Metzelder insisted that he was not involved in any “attacks on children and youths” but acknowledged the damage his actions have caused to those involved, while also promising to return the awards he has received for founding a child poverty charity.
What’s been said?
“I took screenshots of incriminating images on freely accessible websites and talked about extreme fantasies in chats,” the former Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund centre-half said after being found guilty of the charges against him.
“There were no attacks on children or young people and none were planned, despite the extreme comments in chats. It all took place in a parallel digital world.
“I sent these pictures even though I know what unspeakable suffering towards kids in each of these files there is. I leave a wound that will never heal.
“I accept the punishment and I ask for forgiveness from the victims of sexual violence. I will have to live with this guilt as part of society for the rest of my life.”
Metzelder’s football career
Metzelder began his professional career at Preußen Munster before joining Dortmund in 2000, where he picked up one Bundesliga title while racking up over 150 appearances for the club.
The one-time Germany international joined Madrid on a free transfer in 2007, but only appeared in 31 games in three years at Santiago Bernabeu due to persistent injury problems.
Metzelder was snapped up as a free agent by Schalke after leaving the Blancos, and spent three seasons at Vetlins-Arena before seeing out his playing days at TuS Haltern II.
He also won 47 caps for Germany at the height of his career, receiving runners’-up medals at both the 2002 World Cup and 2008 European Championships.