Arjen Robben has insisted he did not spit on Bacary Sagna after inconclusive television footage led to accusations he had done so while the Arsenal defender was on the floor.
The Bayern Munich forward, who earned a controversial penalty in his team’s 2-0 win in the Champions League at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night, was incredulous that fans believed he would carry out such an act in that or any other match.
“If I ever did that you could drag me off and ban me for 10 games,” Robben said. “I don’t have much hair and the sweat just dripped off.
“I must make this clear: I did not spit. I would never do that in my life. If I ever spat at an opponent, I’d never be able to show my face to my family ever again.”
Footage of the incident which gave rise to the accusations circulated very quickly on Twitter during the first leg of the last-16 tie and was subsequently published by a various websites.
The initial images showed Robben leaning over Sagna, who lay injured, with a drop of liquid falling on to the Arsenal player.
However, the angle, from behind Robben, meant it was difficult to tell exactly what had happened. With Arsenal fans having barracked the former Chelsea player throughout the game, some appeared keen to jump to the now disputed conclusion.
Arsene Wenger, after the match, also accused Robben of diving to win the penalty and get goalkeeper Wojciech Szcesny sent off; an incident which proved a pivotal moment in the game and angered fans further.