Antonio Rudiger has denied biting Paul Pogba during France’s 1-0 Euro 2020 win over Germany.
The Germany defender appeared to make contact with his mouth on France midfielder Pogba’s back in Tuesday’s Group F opener.
Manchester United man Pogba initially reacted in shock, but later insisted Rudiger should face no punishment.
Rudiger has now moved to clarify the situation, insisting he did not bite Pogba, and the Chelsea defender is understood to harbour regrets over the incident.
“I should not come close with my mouth to his back, no doubt about it,” Rudiger said.
“It looks unfortunate. Paul and I have talked about it as friends after the final whistle.”
Referee Carlos Del Cerro Grande and his team of officials took no action during the Munich encounter, and Pogba quickly insisted after the match that he agreed with that stance.
“I’m not crying for cards, yellow, red cards, because of such actions,” said Pogba.
Antonio Rudiger appeared to bite Paul Pogba during Germany vs. France 👀 pic.twitter.com/YWhzhlAnHC
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) June 15, 2021
“He nibbled, I think, a little bit on me. But we have known each other for a long time.
“I told the referee and he takes decisions and he took a decision. It’s over.
“It was a great match for us, and I didn’t want him to be suspended because of such a situation.
“It was towards the end of the match. We hugged each other and that’s it.”
Reigning world champions France got their campaign off to a positive start thanks to an own goal from Germany defender Mats Hummels.
Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema both saw strikes chalked off for offside and Adrien Rabiot struck the outside of a post as Les Bleus pushed for a second.
Thomas Muller, Ilkay Gundogan and Serge Gnabry could not capitalise on openings for Germany in an engaging contest.
Meanwhile, the impressive display of Pogba had both Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira purring – but the pair are in total agreement over what the player lacks while playing for Manchester United.
Pogba was at his marauding best for Les Bleus as they opened their account with a 1-0 win over Germany in Munich. He put in an all-action display in the centre of the park as Didier Deschamps side collected all three points.
And Pogba played his part in the winner, feeding a sumptuous pass out to Lucas Hernandez, whose cross was turned into his own net by Mats Hummels.
Pogba has now been back at United for five years. His £89.2m move in summer 2017 remains a club-record fee for the Red Devils. Rarely in that time though has Pogba shown his true colours on a regular basis. Yes, there have been patches of brilliance, but United fans will feel it’s not been seen enough.
And ahead of Tuesday’s game, old foes Keane and Vieira were proved right as they revealed his biggest failure for United.
And Keane insisted he is still not satisfied with Pogba’s performances and lack of leadership at Old Trafford.
“Listen, we keep talking about Paul Pogba, he’s no doubt a talented boy,” Keane said on ITV Sport.
“I still want more from him, particularly when he’s playing for Man United.
“No doubt he’s surrounded probably by better players [with France] and he’s more comfortable in that environment, on the left-hand side slotting in.
Pundits agree over Pogba
“A talented player but for me I just want more, particularly when he’s playing for Man United.
“But he’d still have, no doubt, an impact on this competition.”
Vieira said: “[In France] there is a question about the performance that he has with Manchester [United] and the one obviously with the French national team is much, much better.
“I think there may be a system where he’s maybe feeling more comfortable in the French system than in Manchester.
“But obviously he’s a leader, he is an important player. So when he’s in Manchester he has to take responsibility.”
Keane interrupted, saying: “He doesn’t show that, Patrick, at United, at club level. He hasn’t shown leadership skills.
“He’s probably more comfortable no doubt in that environment [with France].
“But at United he’s been there previously, that’s the frustration.”