France star Dimitri Payet has insisted that he did not go out to hurt Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo during Sunday’s Euro 2016 final.
Ronaldo was forced off in the 25th minute of Portugal’s extra-time win over the hosts after being on the receiving end of a robust early challenge from Payet.
But West Ham playmaker Payet, 29, said after the game that he had nothing to apologise for with regard to his eighth-minute tackle on Real Madrid forward Ronaldo.
“I came in for a tackle, full stop,” Payet told reporters after Portugal’s 1-0 win at the Stade de France.
“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.”
Dimitri Payet’s challenge saw Cristiano Ronaldo make an early exit from the Euro 2016 final.
Ronaldo tried to continue to play twice after picking up the knee injury but he was eventually stretchered off. The 31-year-old’s mother tweeted a picture of her son in tears, adding: “I cannot see my son in this way.”
Payet made way for Kingsley Coman early in the second half and watched from the bench as Eder fired home the only goal of the game in the 109th minute.