Real Madrid have come out in support of tennis star Rafael Nadal following what they described as “unjustifiable and unacceptable attacks” by France’s former secretary of sport.
Roselyne Bachelot claimed a lengthy lay-off for the 14-time grand slam champion in 2012 was “without any doubt because he tested positive [for performance-enhancing drugs]” and not because of injury.
Uncle and coach Toni Nadal responded furiously, revealing the world number five is considering legal action in the wake of the remarks.
Nadal is an avid Madrid fan and an honorary member of the club, who said in a statement: “Real Madrid C.F. would like to express their full support to our honorary member, Rafa Nadal, undoubtedly one of the greatest sportsmen of all time in Spain and in the world.
“Rafa Nadal represents the fundamental values of sport. His greatness and his incredible achievements have always been based upon a foundation of exemplary conduct, unwavering work ethic, talent and astonishing levels of commitment.
“This being the case, our institution considers the attacks made on his person by former minister Roselyne Bachelot to be unjustifiable and unacceptable.
“Real Madrid C.F. consider the close ties to an idol such as Nadal to be an honour, such is his status as a symbol [of] sporting excellence. Nadal is admired and adored by millions of fans the world over, and today our club is standing firmly by his side.”
Asked about Nadal, Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane added: “He has always shown the values that all people want. I know him a little bit.
“I think that Rafa Nadal is, for all people who like sports, either French, Spanish or American, a spectacle.”
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