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Champions League

PSG stars claim X-rated abuse from referee led to Mauricio Pochettino confrontation

Paris Saint-Germain stars Marco Verratti and Leandro Paredes were allegedly told “f*** you” and “f*** off” by the referee of their Champions League clash with Manchester City.

PSG exited the competition with a 2-0 defeat in the second leg of their semi-final at the Etihad on Tuesday night, which compounded their 2-1 home loss last week.

Both encounters were feisty affairs, with Idrissa Gueye sent off for an awful tackle in the first leg and Angel Di Maria given his marching orders in the second for lashing out at Fernandinho.

PSG also received four yellow cards in the second leg and referee Bjorn Kuipers was regularly confronted by angry players in navy and red during the closing stages.

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This continued after the match was brought to an end, when a tearful Verratti and PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino confronted Kuipers and his team at length.

Verratti and Pochettino confronted the match officials after the full-time whistle
Verratti and Pochettino confronted the match officials after the full-time whistle

And midfielders Herrera and Verratti later alleged their side were on the receiving end of expletive remarks by the experienced Dutch match official as they spoke to reporters.

“Tonight, the referee said ‘f*** off’ to Leandro Paredes, this is not normal,” said Herrera. “If a player does that, he takes three or four match suspension.”

Verratti added: “He also told me twice ‘f*** you’. For him, this is normal. If I do, I take 10 matches [suspended].”

Pochettino also briefly discussed the incident in his post-match press conference, saying: “I did not hear it but we need to believe what they say and maybe UEFA will investigate.”

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Pochettino continued to talk to Kuipers for some time
Pochettino continued to talk to Kuipers for some time

What do you make of Verratti and Herrera’s allegations? Have your say in the comments.

PSG’s players were clearly frustrated by the result, with Herrera insisting PSG dominated the match for large swathes despite their defeat.

The former Manchester United midfielder said: “I think we were the best team for 70 minutes. We tried everything, we played well, we attacked, we created problems for them.

“We can leave with our heads held high even if we are sad.

“It’s not that easy to go to the final even though we’re in the top four teams.

“I think we should not change our game. We played well, we created a lot of situations. Our balloons between the lines posed a problem for them.

“We can still improve. It is not easy to stay at this level. We still have to fight for two titles. We only have finals to play.”

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