Dutchman on defensive

De Jong horrified by Xabi tackle reaction

April 22, 2011

Nigel De Jong says he was treated "like a war criminal" in the wake of a stormy World Cup final.

Nigel de Jong plants his studs into Xabi Alonso's chest
GettyImagesNigel de Jong hit Xabi Alonso with a chest-high challenge in the World Cup final

The Holland and Manchester City midfielder admitted he should have received a red card, not a yellow for his chest-high challenge on Spain's Xabi Alonso.

The Dutch lost an ill-tempered game after John Heitinga was sent off and De Jong was vilified at home and abroad.

De Jong told De Volkskrant: "At no time did I see Xabi Alonso because I was focused only on the ball. Actually, when I think back about it, it was not good at all. Of course the referee (Howard Webb) should have shown a red card for the foul. That is obvious."

The incident left De Jong fearing for his safety.

"I had the feeling that there were people who wanted to harm me," he said. "I've been public enemy number one on many occasions. Honestly, people treated me like a war criminal. It was an unpleasant sensation."