West Ham United forward Dimitri Payet has denied claims that he intentionally injured Cristiano Ronaldo during the Euro 2016 final tie involving Portugal and France last Sunday.
Ronaldo was stretched out of the pitch just 25 minutes into the encounter after a heavy challenge from Payet in the early exchanges at Stade de France with the Portugal skipper being forced to watch the remaining minutes of the game from the side-lines following a first aid treatment in the changing room.
Payet who has now been valued at £100m by West Ham following his impressive showing for Les Blues at the Euros has been subjected to abuse online in the aftermath, despite Portugal eventually emerging victorious in added-time but the former Marseille man insists the clash which has now forced Ronaldo out of action for five months was not deliberate.
“I came in for a tackle, full stop. I got the ball back, but if I hurt him it wasn’t intentional – it’s not in my nature to be a nasty player on the pitch. There’s no question about that.” Payet told reporters at full-time as quoted on the Independent.
Portugal went on to win without Ronaldo after frustrating the hosts France for long periods before hitting them with a 109th minute winner from former Swansea City striker Eder.