PSG midfielders Marco Verratti and Leandro Paredes were allegedly both told to ‘f*** off’ by referee Bjorn Kuipers during their Champions League semi-final defeat by Manchester City.
Tensions flared during the crucial game at the Etihad with the stakes so high, and the Ligue 1 side imploded in the second half with Angel Di Maria shown a red card for a stamp on Fernandinho, with PSG stars involved in a few stand-offs with the official.
City won 4-1 on aggregate after Mahrez scored a brace to earn a 2-0 victory on the night and sent his side through to their first ever Champions League final.
PSG star Marco Verratti claims referee Bjorn Kuipers told him ‘f*** you’ during their loss to City
Ander Herrera alleged Leandro Paredes was insulted in a similar manner by the official
Paredes comes to blows with Man City left back Oleksandr Zinchenko at the Etihad Stadium
After the game Mahrez accused PSG of ‘losing their nerve’ after the red card and slammed their players for ‘kicking us’, but the French outfit incredibly claimed they were victims of a verbal attack from the man in charge of the contest.
Ander Herrera told RMC that his team-mate Paredes had been told to ‘f*** off’ by Kuipers, and complained that the players would have been hit with a lengthy ban had they said something similar to him.
‘We talk about respect with referees,’ he said. ‘The referee tonight said ‘f*** off’ to Leandro Paredes. It’s incredible. If we say that we get a three-four match ban.’
Verratti backed up the claims and insisted he too had been insulted by the official, saying: ‘He said ‘f*** you’ to me… I talk to referees a lot but I never say that or I get a 10-game ban.’
After hearing of his players’ accusations on Tuesday night after their Champions League heartbreak, Mauricio Pochettino urged UEFA to investigate the referee’s actions.
Tensions flared during the Champions League semi as Angel Di Maria (far right) was sent off
‘They explained to the TV in some interview before, we need to believe in what they are telling us you know,’ Pochettino said in his post-match press conference.
‘But now the most important thing is that we are not in the final. But of course if I didn’t hear nothing from the touchline, if something is there and that is how they explain, maybe UEFA will investigate the situation (sic).’
Herrera himself was involved in an angry exchange with Tuesday’s referee midway through the first half, when the former Man United midfielder reacted furiously at a decision not going in his favour.
Herrera and Ilkay Gundogan battled for the ball at the Etihad Stadium but referee Kuipers gave the decision the City midfielder’s way, just moments after the PSG man rolled to the floor as if he had been fouled.
Herrera couldn’t believe the decision before picking up a yellow for his angry reaction in the 23rd minute.
Ander Herrera said Kuipers’ words were ‘incredible’ and said PSG players would have received a lengthy ban if they had said similar comments to him
Italian midfielder Verratti meanwhile was seen protesting, alongside Pochettino, to the referee following the full-time whistle as PSG once again failed in their pursuit of European glory.
PSG were second best for much of the contest having come into the game losing 2-1 after a home defeat in the first leg, but they failed to pull themselves back into the contest.
The Parisiens didn’t even manage a shot on target as they were unable to put a glove on Pep Guardiola’s men, who were dominant throughout and shackled the likes of Di Maria and Neymar and defended as a unit.
Herrera however claimed that PSG were the dominant side for the majority of the game in Manchester.
A furious Verratti speaks to Mauricio Pochettino after the pair protested to the referee
‘We were the better side for 70 minutes. We tried it all. We attacked, we tried to attack,’ Herrera told RMC after the game. ‘We are going to leave here with our heads held high.’
However, pundit Rio Ferdinand said the defeat was ’embarrassing’ for the Ligue 1 outfit and that City ‘took the mick’ with how easy it was to brush them aside in such a huge game in the Champions League.
‘By the end of it they were taking the mick,’ he told BT Sport. ‘It was embarrassing for PSG, a team who are full of experience and full of winners. Huge hats off to Pep [Guardiola] and his team.’
For City, it was simply a night to remember, and while PSG’s top stars failed to sparkle on the big stage, there were top performances from Mahrez and young English star Phil Foden.
City were dominant on the night, with top displays from Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez (centre)
Ferdinand hailed the midfielder as the best young player in world football and said he had to be a shoo-in to start for England at Euro 2020.
‘At the moment I would say Phil Foden is the best young player in the world right now on form. [Erling] Haaland is yet to play at this level. In terms of this moment, Foden is the best on form,’ the former Man United defender said.
‘Its the semi finals of the Champions League, an important game – they’ve never been further than this. He’s come into this team and he has created match defining moments.
‘I can’t wait, I’m salivating – you fast forward to the Euros… he has to be one of the first players on the team sheet because he’s doing it on this level.’