I did not mean to injure Ronaldo, says Payet
Dimitri Payet insisted there was no malice in his tackle that forced Cristiano Ronaldo out of Sunday’s Euro 2016 final.
Portugal beat hosts France 1-0 after extra time in Saint-Denis thanks to a superb 109th-minute strike from substitute Eder.
The Lille striker would, in all likelihood, not have been on the pitch if captain and talisman Ronaldo had not hurt his knee during a crunching early challenge with Payet.
Ronaldo attempted to continue twice after receiving treatment but eventually left the field on a stretcher, with the Stade de France rising to offer a warm ovation in the 25th minute.
“No, it was a challenge, that’s all, period,” Payet told reporters after the match. “I regained the possession and if I hurt him it was not intentional.
“It’s not in my nature to be a bad guy on the pitch. There is no question about it.”
Payet, who made way for Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman with an hour played, lamented a lack of ruthlessness from Didier Deschamps’ team, who enjoyed enough chances to win within 90 minutes.
“We’re disappointed,” he said. “We were under the impression we were the ones with the possession and the better chances but we missed that goal that could unblock the situation. On the very few chances they got, they were able to score.
Culled from www.Soccerway.comå