MADRID (Reuters) - Spain goalkeeper David de Gea said on Friday that press reports linking him to a prostitution case currently under investigation in Spain were false and he would not leave the Spanish squad for the Euro 2016 soccer championship.
“It is all a lie. It’s all false what has come out in the press. It is in the hands of my lawyers,” de Gea told a news conference at Spain’s headquarters in Ile de Re, France.
“I‘m calm. If anything I am going to have more determination. I‘m looking forward for Euro 2016 to start,” de Gea said, looking calm and composed.
According to the Spanish newspaper El Diario, the Manchester United goalkeeper was named in a statement given by a protected witness in a rape case against pornography producer Ignacio Fernandez Allende, nicknamed Torbe.
Torbe has been in prison since April on charges relating to prostitution, including human trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Neither the court investigating the case nor the Spanish police were available for comment.
De Gea, 25, said the story caught him by surprise.
“I was resting in my room, playing with the Play (station) and I was told about this story,” he said.
”I have no idea where this comes from and how this can be in the press. It’s a way to tarnish someone’s reputation. The first thing I did was to speak to my family so they wouldn’t worry.
“But they know me. I know what I’ve done with my life so I‘m very calm.”
De Gea said the issue would not affect his performance at Euro 2016, which got underway on Friday. There were reports that he may leave the Spain team but he said he would remain.
“If anything this is going to give me more strength,” he said. “It will make me stronger.”
“I have all the support of my team mates and I‘m just looking forward. I‘m eager to play in the competition.”
Spain, the defending champions, begin their Euro 2016 campaign against the Czech Republic in Toulouse on Monday.
Writing by Cindy Garcia, editing by Angus MacSwan