Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti has confirmed he is sueing L'Equipe over claims he was out in a nightclub the day before his side's capitulation at the hands of Barcelona.
According to the French newspaper, Verratti and Blaise Matuidi were seen partying in an event organised by Puma to celebrate a new line of clothing designed by singer Rihanna.
The next day, PSG fell 6-1 at Camp Nou and were eliminated from the Champions League, despite holding a 4-0 lead from the first leg.
But Verratti vehemently denies the allegations, and has revealed he is taking legal action against the media outlet.
“Mr Marco Verratti, professional footballer for Paris Saint-Germain and the Italian national team has taken note of a story in the newspaper L’Équipe from March 10, 2017,” an official statement explains.
“An article with no byline on page three of the newspaper ‘Matuidi and Verratti out before Barcelona’ affirmed: ‘On Monday night [6 March, 2017], the Puma brand organised a soirée in a Parisian nightclub to launch the collection designed by the singer Rihanna. L’Équipe can reveal Blaise Matuidi and Marco Verratti were two of those invited to this private party. According to several witnesses, the two PSG players, flying out from Bourget with their teammates for Barcelona the next day, left the night club well after midnight’.
“This article is intended to call into question the professionalism of Marco Verratti, notably in perspective of the match on March 8 against FC Barcelona.
“Marco Verratti states in the strongest possible terms that the information contained in this article is totally false. This article is an absolute lie.
“Marco Verratti, as well as Blaise Matuidi, were never at that party. Marco Verratti was at home with his girlfriend and his son on the night of March 6, the day before the departure for Barcelona.
“With this statement, Marco Verratti intends to strongly denounce the information contained in that article.
“These actions contravene the ethical rules and standards of the professional of a journalist, notably failing to verify your source before publication.
“The information published by the newspaper badly affected the image of Marco Verratti, as a player and as a family man.
“This information falsely claimed that Marco Verratti was living the high life before an important match.
“Marco Verratti wishes to make it known that he has instructed Mr Carlo Alberto Brusa, lawyer for the Cour d’Appel de Paris, to set in motion all legal recourse, both civil and criminal, and all useful actions to sanction such acts and attain reparations for the damage suffered as the result of the tarnishing of his image, both nationally and internationally.”