UEFA to probe alleged threat on Ronaldo
BRUSSELS, March 22 (Reuters) - European soccer's governing body UEFA is to investigate allegations that Belgium goalkeeper Stijn Stijnen threatened to harm Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo during a Euro 2008 qualifier on Saturday.
Stijnen was quoted on Monday in Gazet Van Antwerpen, a Belgian regional newspaper, as saying in Dutch: 'After two minutes we will normally have to attack Ronaldo so much that he will have to leave the pitch.'
The Club Bruges goalkeeper has since said he was misquoted.
'We have received a complaint from the Portuguese FA and we will start an investigation into the matter,' a UEFA spokesman said.
'We will be contacting the Belgian FA in due course, but the investigation will not be completed by the time of the match on Saturday.'
A spokesman for the Belgian FA said 'the matter is over' as far as they were concerned, but they would co-operate fully with UEFA.
'I spoke to the Portuguese FA and sent them a statement from Stijnen along with a copy of the newspapers today (Thursday) in which he denies he said what the paper wrote on Monday,' Nicolas Cornu said.
Cornu said Stijnen said Belgium 'must be aggressive from the start' and described the encounter as a 'real battle', but never picked out Ronaldo as a target of any abuse.
Sports daily Record quoted on Thursday Portuguese soccer federation president Gilberto Madail as saying: 'Nothing moves us against the Belgium soccer federation, with whom we have an excellent relationship, but we believe UEFA should take a formal position in this case. It cannot be forgotten or covered up with denials.'
Stijnen will remain available for selection for Saturday's Group A qualifier, Cornu said, adding that they did not fear any backlash against their player in Lisbon.
Portugal lie in fourth place in the group on seven points from four games. Finland are top with 11 points from five.