Slovenia’s star player Zlatko Zahovic has apologised to coach Srecko Katanec for verbally abusing insults at him after being substituted during Sunday’s 1-3 defeat to Spain.

An emotional Katanec announced earlier in the day that he would stand down as manager after the World Cup finals and blamed the tirade from the Benfica midfielder for his decision.

“I am very sorry for the things I said in the dressing room after the game,” said Zahovic.

“I am absolutely aware that they were strong words. I apologize to everybody and to the World Cup association and to Katanec.

“I felt that at the time it was the only appropriate reaction for me. However this story should come to an end or it will not be possible to go on in the World Cup.”