Paul Pogba has rubbished ‘fake’ and ‘appalling’ claims he has quit the France national team.
It had been suggested the Manchester United star, who is a Muslim, was set to announce his retirement from international football after French president Emmanuel Macron called a recent murder in his homeland an ‘Islamic terrorist attack’.
Teacher Samuel Paty, 47, was beheaded on his way home from a junior school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine earlier this month.
He had shown schoolchildren controversial images of the prophet Muhammad before being fatally attacked.
Paty was awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest order of merit, for promoting free speech.
At Paty’s funeral, Macron said: “He was killed precisely because he incarnated the Republic.
“He was killed because the Islamists want our future. They know that with quiet heroes like him, they will never have it.”
It was wrongly claimed Pogba was insulted by Macron’s remarks, and was ready to walk away from Didier Deschamps’ side in protest.
However, the midfielder has been left furious by those reports, branding them ‘fake news’ in a lengthy Instagram Story post on Monday morning and threatening legal action against those who published the false claims.
“Unacceptable. Fake news”, he wrote, alongside an image of the news report.
”I am appalled, angry, shocked and frustrated some ‘media’ sources use me to make total fake headlines in the sensible subject of French current events and adding the French national team to the pot.
“I am against any and all forms of terror and violence. Unfortunately, some press people don’t act responsibly when writing the news, abusing their press freedom, not verifying if what they write/reproduce is true, creating a gossip chain without caring (if) it affects people’s lives and my life.”
Pogba has featured 72 times for France since making his debut in 2013, and was a key part of their 2018 World Cup triumph.
Pogba, who has been restricted to a substitute role for Manchester United’s last three matches, is expected to play for France in next month’s International break.
Les Blues take on Finland in a friendly, before a Nations League double-header against Portugal and Sweden.