Romania striker Denis Alibec has strongly denied allegations that he went for a smoke during his country’s opening Euro 2016 defeat to France.
Alibec appeared as a 61st-minute substitute during the 2-1 defeat last Friday but found himself at the centre of a row between coach Anghel Iordanescu and a journalist at Tuesday’s pre-match news conference ahead of their second Group A encounter against Switzerland at the Parc des Princes.
Iordanescu branded the reporter “a liar” over claims published by his newspaper, Gazeta Sporturilor, that Alibec went to smoke a cigarette before the start of the second half of the match, which was poised at 0-0.
Astra forward Alibec spoke to the publication himself to firmly distance himself from the reports.
“I warmed up and then went to the locker room to change boots. I came back and everything was okay,” he said. “I did not fight with anyone, there is not a question of that.
“I do not know who would throw such information just to hurt me. I prepare myself as seriously as possible.
“I do not understand who wants to hurt me but I will answer them on the field. I have no time for strife – I am at Euro 2016 and want to help Romania reach the latter stages.
“I hope to have the chance to play more, but that is for the coach to decide.”
He added: “I am disappointed. All the staff did not know about the [allegation] and saw the morning newspaper.”
Alibec scored 19 times across all competitions last season as Astra were crowned Romanian champions.
Romania play Switzerland in Paris later on Wednesday.