Real Madrid midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni has issued a public apology after he was spotted at an NBA game on Thursday at the same time as his teammates were playing in the Copa del Rey.
Tchouameni has been nursing a calf injury and so wasn’t available to face Villarreal, a game which saw Los Blancos mount a second half comeback to win 3-2 and progress to the quarter-finals.
Instead, the France international was in Paris as Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons went head-to-head in the first NBA regular season game played in Europe in three years.
Even though he couldn’t play against Villarreal, Tchouameni’s presence in Paris did not go down well with Real fans, who voiced their displeasure on social media.
The player has since posted his own statement on social media, writing: “I apologise to my club, the coaching staff, my teammates and the Madrid fans for my presence at an event at a time when we were playing in the Copa.
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“I apologise to my club, the coaching staff, my teammates and the Madrid fans for my presence at an event at a time when we were playing in the Copa,” he said.
“I have been attentive at all times to what was happening in Villarreal, but I have not done the right thing. Very sorry.”
Having established himself as one of the world’s best up and coming central midfielders at Monaco, Tchouameni earned a €100m to Real Madrid last summer.
He had been a regular starter for Los Blancos until the injury suffered in a different game against Villarreal earlier this month, effectively replacing Casemiro in the team that won the Champions League last season. But he has missed the last three games in all competitions – including the entire Supercopa de Espana in Saudi Arabia – and isn’t likely to feature again this month.