I did nothing wrong, insists De Gea
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea protested his innocence and said he had never considered leaving the Spain squad, when asked yesterday about being implicated in a sex-abuse case dating back to 2012.
Scandal threatened to shake the reigning European Champions' base camp at La Rochelle in France when various media in Spain reported that a protected witness in the case against pornographer Ignacio Allende Fernández had claimed De Gea set up a meeting between her, one other girl, and two Spanish U-21 players four years ago, in which the girls were sexually abused.
The 25-year-old goalkeeper gave an impromptu press conference ahead of training last and said: 'No one is more surprised by this news than me. It is a lie, completely false." Asked about rumours that he could be leaving Euro 2016 before Spain's first game, he said: "I have never considered leaving the squad."
Watched from the wings by supportive team-mates Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba, De Gea faced questions before training with the rest of the squad ahead of Spain's first game against the Czech Republic on Monday.
"This does not affect me," he said. "I am very relaxed and I just want to go out and play. Very few things affect me and when it is something that is completely untrue then that is even more the case. I was on the PlayStation when I was first informed. The first thing I did was inform my family that this is completely false. They already knew that."
De Gea trained normally and is still expected to start Monday's match against the Czech Republic.
It was the Spanish website Eldiario.es that first claimed that Allende Fernández, who has been in prison since April, and is being investigated for human trafficking with the intention of sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, child pornography, prostitution, extortion and money laundering, was contacted by the 25-year-old United keeper in 2012.
Police reports published by Eldiario.es showed a protected witness, known only as TP3, make a declaration on June 3 in 2015 claiming she was involved in an incident in 2012 in a five-star Madrid hotel with Iker Muniain, who was in the Spain U-21 squad with De Gea at the time.
The alleged victim was driven to the hotel with the promise that she would make some money. At the hotel it is claimed she met with another woman and two players from the Spain U-21 squad. There is no suggestion that De Gea was the second player but it is claimed that De Gea set-up the meeting with Allende Fernández. Muniain issued a statement yesterday evening denying all claims. (© Independent News Service)