Dimitri Payet has been blamed for causing Cristiano Ronaldo’s injury but he wants to put the record straight.
Payet, 29, had a sublime EURO 2016 for host nation France, scoring three goals and taking his chance as a playmaker in Didier Deschamps’ team.
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However, a disappointing display in the final and a hefty challenge on Ronaldo in the ninth minute is the main topic of discussion around the West Ham United midfielder right now.
Speaking to reporters after France’s defeat, Payet rubbished claims he meant to injure Ronaldo.
“I came in for a tackle, full stop,” Payet said “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’s family have also moved to defend him after the tackle which saw Ronaldo carried off on a stretcher 25 minutes into the final.
Seeing the tackle many, many times since it happened in slow-mo, it is one of those challenges that you could neither say was 100 percent deliberate or it wasn’t.
Referee Mark Clattenburg waved played on and didn’t even award Portugal a free kick. Another referee could’ve easily have handed a yellow card to Payet if he saw it from a different angle.
Let’s get this straight. It wasn’t a horror tackle by any means but Payet did leave his knee in an area where he knew he was protected and Ronaldo was not.
Being on the end of so many hefty challenges throughout his career in France and England, the mercurial playmaker has surely picked up a few tricks along the way. I’m not saying Payet meant to intentionally injure Ronaldo but he certainly knew how to take the ball as well as taking a piece of the man too.