I did not drink nor smoke: Adebayor

LONDON • Emmanuel Adebayor has rejected claims he smoked cigarettes and asked for a shot of whisky in his coffee during a meeting with Lyon over a potential move to the football club.

The Togolese, who was released by Crystal Palace in the close season after his contract expired, met Lyon manager Bruno Genesio last week.

The 32-year-old said the transfer fell through after Lyon were reluctant to release him for the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

However, reports in France said that Genesio decided against signing the striker because of a series of bizarre requests during their meeting.

They include providing a private helicopter to take him to training, hiring celebrated chef Joel Robuchon as his personal cook and a villa with a swimming pool that "has a view of Corsica".

"We had a place in our squad for Manu, so I arranged to meet him for a coffee in Lyon," Geneseo is reported to have said by spoof website Football France.

"But, to my surprise, when he arrived he asked for a shot of whisky in his coffee. He also had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth."

The quotes were picked up by several newspapers in Britain and Europe but Adebayor released a statement on Thursday to deny the story.

"Usually I do not comment on any transfer negotiations but this time certain matters need to be cleared up," said Adebayor.

"Lyon wanted to sign me and offered to pay for a private jet from Togo to bring me to Lyon in order for me to sign ahead of their game against Marseille.

"Unfortunately I could not get there in time and they signed another young striker instead.

"We all had a perfectly amicable meeting in Lyon and for the avoidance of doubt I only drank water at this meeting and did not ask for whisky or have a cigarette."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2016, with the headline 'I did not drink nor smoke: Adebayor'. Print Edition | Subscribe