'Fake news': Pogba denies quitting France team over Macron comments


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Chelsea - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - October 24, 2020 Manchester United's Paul Pogba during the warm up before the match Pool via REUTERS/Oli Scarff

(Reuters) - Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba on Monday denied media reports that said he quit the France national team over comments made by the country's President Emmanuel Macron which were perceived to be against Islam.

The French leader this month declared war on "Islamist separatism", which he believes is taking over some Muslim communities in France.

The Sun newspaper alleged that Pogba, a practising Muslim, reacted to Macron's comments by quitting the national team.

"Unacceptable," the 27-year-old wrote on a Twitter post along with a "fake news" sticker on a screenshot of the headline from The Sun.

"So The Sun did it again," he added. "Absolutely 100% unfounded news about me are going around, stating things I have never said or thought.

"I am appalled, angry, shocked and frustrated some 'media' sources use me to make total fake headlines in the sensible subject of French current events and adding the French national team to the pot.

"I am against any and all forms of terror and violence. Unfortunately, some press people don't act responsibly when writing the news, abusing their press freedom, not verifying if what they write/reproduce is true, creating a gossip chain without caring (if) it affects people's lives and my life."

Pogba added that he was taking legal action against the publishers.

"We reported on a story that Paul Pogba had taken the decision to quit the French national football team after it was published on a sports website," The Sun newspaper said in a statement. "The story was also published by The Mirror, Mail Online and other websites.

"Subsequently, Paul Pogba has denied the claim and we have updated our story accordingly. We apologise for any upset caused."

The report came days after Macron paid tribute to a French history teacher who was beheaded by an Islamist radical for using cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a class on freedom of expression for 13-year-olds.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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