After footage surfaced, which was filmed by Zouma's brother Yoan and posted on Snapchat, the centre-back issued a grovelling apology after pleading guilty to kicking and slapping his pet. He was also sentenced to 180 hours of unpaid community work, ordered to pay costs of £8,887 and banned from owning cats for five years
The RSPCA also took his two pet cats away from him, while West Ham fined him £250,000 but decided not to suspend him. In a fresh interview with the Evening Standard, Zouma has once again apologised for making such a 'bad mistake' and opened up about the effect the incident has had on him and his family.
"It's been a tough time for me and for my family," the former Chelsea star said. "We've been through a lot. I made a mistake, I know — I made a bad one.
"I have to say sorry again for what I've done, but life is about moving on. Obviously, it affected me. But we're football players and I’ve been very lucky to do what I love, to keep playing football.
"My wife and my [three] kids, my family, everybody around me, even at the club, the lads, the fans, people have helped me through everything. It affected me but they helped me and I've kept a smile on my face, because that's who I am."
Zouma has been integral for West Ham since making the move from Chelsea back in 2021 and he has featured in all but one of their Europa Conference League knockout games. And with the Hammers now hoping to win their first European trophy in 58 years when they take on Fiorentina in the final, Zouma says winning the Conference League would "mean a lot more" than the Champions League victory he was involved in with Chelsea in 2021.
He was an unused substitute as the Blues beat Manchester City 1-0 in the final, but earned a medal after featuring in five Champions League games that season. "It's a different team [to Chelsea], very talented, but I try and talk to the players about what I've been through, how I've won trophies," he added.
"This club deserves something. I always said when I joined that's what I'm dreaming of and my target is to win something. We're just one game away, so let's do it."2023-06-01T15:09:56Z dg43tfdfdgfd