'Football is supposed to be fun' - Ntep defends himself after hilarious schoolyard goal

Philippe Montanier was critical of his forward after he angered Reims with a cheeky finish in their 3-1 win over Reims, but the 21-year-old is defiant in achieving his "dream"
Paul-Georges Ntep has insisted "football is supposed to be fun" after causing controversy with his hilarious, albeit provocative, playground goal on Saturday and says he has completed a lifelong ambition with the effort.

Rennes saw off rivals Stade de Reims 3-1 in their final Ligue 1 clash of the season and the highlight of the game was undoubtedly Ntep's solo strike in which he sped past the opposition goalkeeper, ran towards the line then knelt down to head over the line.

The 21-year-old's actions, which had put the visitors three goals up, infuriated the hosts and Rennes coach Philippe Montanier quickly hauled the forward off to prevent further provocation amongst Reims fans and players.

"First I want to say that this is not an attempt to disrespect Stade de Reims and its supporters," Ntep proclaimed on Twitter afterwards. "I was not thinking about the repercussions whatsoever when I did that gesture.

"I'm 21, I play football with passion. It's been just two years that I have been a professional footballer. Before that I was a kid like everyone else who fell asleep dreaming of football.

"And that goal was one of the things I've always dreamed of doing. I did it once when I was 14 against Creteil when I played for Viry-Chatillon and I promised myself to do it again when I played professionally.

"I realised that dream on Saturday, and yes, I am proud of it personally. I enjoyed myself without trying to hurt anyone. Football is a pleasure for me and the day that I stop finding it fun would be the day I stop.

"But for now I intend to go on for a long while yet. Sorry for those who do not understand my actions. A goal is a goal. I ended my long season on a high. I hope I have given pleasure to people.

"Do not forget: football is supposed to be fun. If you do not take pleasure in doing what you like, what is the point?"

However, Ntep's coach, Montanier, failed to see the funny side and was critical of his forward's cheeky goal, insisting his youth and inexperience is to blame for his provocation.

"Ntep shouldn't have done what he did," he told reporters. "It showed a lack of respect to the opposition and that's why I substituted him.

"It's fine to want to play like you're in the school playground, but he's a youngster and he understood afterwards why I took him off.

Rennes' season had been dampened by their Coupe de France final defeat earlier this month to Guingamp, while the weekend victory saw them finish 12th in Ligue 1.