Everton’s James Rodriguez has strongly denied claims he was involved in a dressing-room fight after Colombia’s 3-0 defeat to Uruguay last Friday.
It had been alleged Rodriguez, Davinson Sanchez of Tottenham and Bournemouth’s Jefferson Lerma were involved in an altercation after the World Cup qualifier, in which goals from Manchester United’s Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez and substitute Darwin Nunez settled the contest in emphatic style.
Rodriguez issued a statement on Twitter denying any such confrontation took place after a defeat which has left Colombia seventh in a World Cup qualifying group from which the top four will automatically qualify for Qatar 2022, with the team in fifth place going to a play-off.
The statement read: “I would like to inform the public, the press and supporters in general that I deny all types of alleged information relating to abusive behaviour, attacks, fights and all types of controversy among players and in which I have been mentioned as the protagonist, after the team’s World Cup qualifiers on 13 and 17 November 2020.
“What happened on the pitch and the unfortunate results went no further than what the game entails. I have excellent and respectful relationships with each of my Colombia teammates in the dressing room and in my personal life.
“It is a difficult period for us in sporting terms and as players, we are the first to recognise our responsibility. As a group, however, we are staying strong and our dream of qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar remains intact, which is something we will work even harder to achieve.
“As for the above, we need to clear up all doubts regarding the harmony and atmosphere in the dressing room, given that although we are upset emotionally, at no point has this turned into a conflict between us.
“Finally, I ask everyone not to fall into the trap of misinformation regarding these lies. Those responsible for creating these fake stories only want to generate discord and chaos affecting my name, which is why I will take legal action where necessary.”
Rodriguez returns to domestic duties with Everton on Sunday when the Toffees travel to play Fulham in the lunchtime kick-off.