Levante defender Sergio Ballesteros has denied having assaulted Real Madrid’s Pepe after Sunday’s game at the Ciutat de Valencia.
The Granotes’ captain was alleged to have grabbed the Portuguese and punched him following the 2-1 defeat to Jose Mourinho’s men, an accusation he has strongly denied as the war of words continues.
“This has all been pre-judged without anyone checking the evidence,” Ballesteros told a Press conference called to explain his version of events.
“I’ve never assaulted anybody in my life and even less Pepe. I swear it. The only thing I did was enter the dressing room to see how Cristiano Ronaldo was [after he had to have stitches inserted into an eye wound following an elbow from David Navarro]."
"Some things are clear. I'm not going to speak ill of anyone but things happen for a reason. There was a fracas for a reason and it didn't happen by chance. You only have to look at what happened
"I am hurt by what has been said. I’m used to being criticised but I’ve had 20 years of playing in La Liga and haven’t been dismissed for five years.”
Real Madrid afterwards issued a statement claiming their players’ behaviour had been ‘exemplary’ and Ballesteros, while not wanting to reveal what happened in the tunnel, admitted he had gone into the Madrid dressing room.
“I left the pitch and went into the dressing room, that's all. Someone told me that Cristiano was in the first aid room so I went to see him, that's all I know.”
“I'm very hurt by what has been said about David [Navarro]. People have rushed to judge both him me. David was going for the ball and didn't see Cristiano.”
Asked about why he appeared to punch Xabi Alonso in the back during the game, Ballesteros was unrepentant.
“This is football. Xabi beat me to do the ball and these things happen. I have stud marks down my legs.
“The only reason this is big news is because it's Real Madrid, but lots of things happen in a match. It looks as if Levante have done something illegal but the only thing we did wrong was to have Real Madrid against the ropes for 80 minutes.
“I'm not going to judge Madrid but Levante have 103 years of history and all I ask is a bit of respect for us. It’s ridiculous to bring up photos from the past.
“Sunday's game was clean and will go down in history as just another day in our 103- year history."