Tom Swarbrick 10pm - 1am
Ex-Germany footballer Christoph Metzelder pleads guilty over child abuse images
29 April 2021, 22:56 | Updated: 30 April 2021, 11:17
Former Germany and Real Madrid footballer Christoph Metzelder has pleaded guilty to sharing images that show child sex abuse.
The ex-defender was issued with a 10-month suspended sentence at Dusseldorf District Court for distributing the pictures.
He admitted to most of the public prosecutor's charges and was convicted of one charge of possession as his trial commenced on Wednesday.
Metzelder, who spent the bulk of his career at Borussia Dortmund, had been accused of possessing images of children being sexually exploited and of forwarding 29 files to three women, who are also being investigated.
He initially denied the charges when the allegations against him were made public in August 2019.
But the prosecutor told the court that the former international star sent photos earlier that month showing the sexual abuse of girls under the age of 10.
The 40-year-old said: "I leave a wound that will never heal."
He apologised to the victims and said he would return all awards handed to him for founding a charity fighting child poverty.
Metzelder enjoyed a successful playing career in Spain and Germany, also representing Schalke.
He made 47 appearances for Germany, helping the side finish as runners-up at the 2002 World Cup and 2008 European Championship. After retirement, Metzelder worked briefly as a pundit for broadcaster ARD.
The ex-footballer stepped down as president of his hometown club TuS Haltern in September 2019 when the allegations came to light.
He is set to next appear in court on 4 and 10 May for the rest of the trial.