MADRID • Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos has brushed off allegations that he deliberately injured Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah in last month's Champions League final, saying he is being unfairly painted as a pantomime villain.
Salah injured shoulder ligaments in a clash with Ramos in Kiev, which led to the player leaving the pitch in tears and his World Cup hopes hanging by a thread.
Ramos was then targeted for online abuse by angry Egyptian fans for his role in the injury.
"They've given this a lot of attention, the Salah thing," he told Spanish newspaper AS. "I see the play well, he grabs my arm first and I fell to the other side, the injury happened to the other arm and they said I gave him a judo hold."
The suggestion that he had also caused Reds goalkeeper Loris Karius' injury, a concussion, did not go down well with the 32-year-old, who will captain Spain at the World Cup next week.
"The goalkeeper said that I dazed him with a clash," he said. "I am only missing (Roberto) Firmino saying that he got a cold because a drop of my sweat landed on him."
Karius went on to make two blunders and Liverpool lost 3-1. He went for tests in Boston with Dr Ross Zafonte, an authority on head-trauma injuries, who revealed the concussion diagnosis on Monday.
Ramos has been called names like the "butcher" and "master of Chinese gongfu, taekwondo, judo and karate". One social media user even derided him as "head of the Madrid Martial Arts team".
Meanwhile, three-time defending champions Real will get a minimum of €51.11 million (S$80.2 million) without kicking a ball in the Champions League under a new revenue distribution system next season.
Group stage teams will receive a €15.65 million starting fee plus win bonuses, additional payments calculated on previous results (known as the coefficient ranking) and finally a share of the TV market pool.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE