Cadiz defender Juan Cala has denied racially abusing Valencia’s Mouctar Diakhaby during Sunday’s 2-1 win in La Liga, saying the reaction was tantamount to “a media circus” and “a public lynching”.
In a first in Spanish football, Valencia’s players left the pitch after Diakhaby reacted furiously following an altercation with Cala in the first half. Diakhaby told the referee he had been racially abused.
Valencia eventually returned to the pitch and resumed the game, saying the referee had warned them that they could face a sanction otherwise.
Diakhaby asked to be substituted but gave his blessing to the rest of the team to continue, and posted a video on his official Twitter account on Tuesday in which he said he had been “very hurt” and hoped La Liga would sanction Cala.
But Cala insisted that he had not racially abused Diakhaby and had only said “leave me in peace” following a dispute for the ball.
“What has happened is a media circus, a public lynching,” Cala told a virtual news conference.
“The best thing would have been to get me and (Diakhaby) together in a room to explain what happened. Instead, it’s been a circus. I was judged before the game was over.”
Cala, 31, also criticised the lack of evidence to support Diakhaby’s account.
“There are 20 or 25 cameras around, who knows how many microphones, and no-one heard (the insult). So at the very least let me have some doubt about what happened,” he said.
Diakhaby had earlier said that a Cadiz player had suggested Valencia could resume play if Cala apologised to him.
“Me and my team-mates said, ‘No, it doesn’t work like that, you can’t just say something like that, apologise and move on’,” he said.
“I hope the league impose sanctions.”
But Cala said he would “quit football tomorrow” if a team-mate confirmed he had offered to apologise.
Valencia have reiterated that they are backing Diakhaby’s account, writing “Juan Cala, we don’t believe you” alongside a statement on Twitter.
“Cala has missed a great opportunity to accept his mistake and apologise,” the club said on their website.
“Valencia CF wish to reiterate that we believe our player and back him completely.”
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