Paris Saint-Germain's Marco Verratti confirms intent to sue L'Equipe
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti has said he is pursuing legal action against L'Equipe.
The French publication claimed last week that the Italy international, as well as PSG teammate and France international Blaise Matuidi, were in a nightclub just hours before leaving the French capital for Barcelona ahead of their 6-1 UEFA Champions League round-of-16 second leg loss.
In a statement released by his lawyer Carlo Alberto Brusa, Verratti detailed the situation and confirmed his intention to take L'Equipe to court.
"Mr Marco Verratti, professional footballer for PSG and the Italian national team has noted a story in the newspaper L'Equipe dated March 10, 2017," the communication said. "This article is intended to call into question the professionalism of Verratti, notably regarding the match on March 8 against Barcelona.
"With this statement, Verratti intends to strongly denounce the information contained in that article."
The statement specifies that "Verratti, as well as Matuidi, were never at that party" and that the Italy international "was at home with his girlfriend and his son" the night before the PSG squad flew to Spain.
Verratti also called L'Equipe's journalistic ethics into question.
"These actions contravene the ethical rules and standards of the profession of a journalist, notably failing to verify your source before publication," the 24-year-old's statement read. "The information published by the newspaper badly affected Verratti's image, both as a player and family man.
The statement once more emphasised the "false" claims that Verratti was "living the high life before an important match" before introducing Brusa, a lawyer for the Cour d'Appel de Paris (Paris Court of Appeal), who is to "set in motion all possible legal action, both civil and criminal" for image damage.
Verratti was suspended as PSG won 2-1 away at Lorient last Sunday but is expected to return to Unai Emery's starting XI at home to Lyon on Sunday.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.