Paris Saint-Germain women’s footballer Aminata Diallo on Friday denied any involvement in a street attack on her teammate Kheira Hamraoui, in her first public statement about the incident that saw her detained by police this week.
Diallo, 26, “hopes that judicial authorities conclude their investigation quickly and is sure that this will end up showing her complete and total innocence,” a statement issued by her lawyer said.
The statement denounced a “totally artificial suggestion of a rivalry between her and Mme Kheira Hamraoui that would explain why she would target her teammate. This theory does not reflect at all the reality of their relationship.”
She also criticised the “media speculation which has already condemned her, without justification, and she will not hesitate to launch legal action if necessary against any defamation.”
Diallo’s detention overnight at a police station outside Paris after her arrest on Wednesday was also unnecessary, the statement said, “given that she could have made a statement without being subjected to constraint.”
Diallo was driving teammate and fellow midfielder Hamraoui home on Thursday evening last week near Paris when her car was stopped by two masked men.
They dragged Hamraoui out and beat her with a metal bar on her legs, meaning she was unable to play this week in PSG’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid.
Although seen as friends who socialised and even holidayed together, police had focused on a possible sporting rivalry between the two women that might explain the violence.
An acquaintance of Diallo’s was also detained in the southeastern city of Lyon, but released like her on Thursday evening after nearly 35 hours of detention.
Given the manner of the attack on Hamraoui and the subsequent arrest of Diallo, commentators had recalled a notorious assault on American ice skater Nancy Kerrigan in the run-up to the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics.
Her rival Tonya Harding was later banned for life after her ex-husband and bodyguard was shown to have hired a hitman to club Kerrigan in the leg.