Dutch football legend Marco van Basten has apologised after using a Nazi slur on live TV while he was on punditry duty.
The 55-year-old mocked the poor grasp of the German language of his co-host Hans Kraay by saying: “Sieg heil, not so beautiful, pancake.”
‘Sieg heil’ was a known Nazi salute used in Germany before and during the second World War, and the timing of this comment was particularly bad.
Teams in the Eredivisie this weekend took a stand against racism in football, but Van Basten’s comment suggests he perhaps wasn’t taking it seriously enough.
He quickly apologised, saying: “I didn’t mean to shock people, I just wanted to ridicule Hans’ German, but I’m sorry.”
Van Basten is regarded as one of the finest players in his country’s history, having scored 24 goals in 58 caps for the Netherlands, including a memorable strike in the final of Euro 88.
The former striker also starred for Ajax and AC Milan before injury cut his career short.
This incident, however, could tarnish his reputation slightly as there is surely no place for reciting Nazi salutes in any situation, let alone on live TV.