'Fake news': Paul Pogba denies quitting France team over Emmanuel Macron comments

Manchester United midfielder says he will take legal action against UK publishers

(FILES) This file photo taken on March 25, 2019 shows France's midfielder Paul Pogba heading the ball during the UEFA Euro 2020 Group H qualification football match between France and Iceland at the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis, north of Paris.	 Manchester United's Paul Pogba said on October 26, 2020 that reports claiming he had retired from international duty in protest against French President Emmanuel Macron's comments about radical Islam were "fake news". / AFP / Martin BUREAU

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has denied media reports saying he had quit the France national team over comments made by the country's President Emmanuel Macron which were perceived to be against Islam.

The Sun newspaper alleged that Pogba, a practising Muslim, had reacted to Macron's comments in which he declared war on "Islamist separatism" by quitting Les Bleus.

"Unacceptable," the 27-year-old wrote on a Twitter post along with a "fake news" sticker on a screenshot of the headline from The Sun.

"So The Sun did it again," he added on a separate Instagram post. "Absolutely 100% unfounded news about me are going around, stating things I have never said or thought.

"I am appalled, angry, shocked and frustrated some 'media' sources use me to make total fake headlines in the sensible subject of French current events and adding the French national team to the pot.

"I am against any and all forms of terror and violence. Unfortunately, some press people don't act responsibly when writing the news, abusing their press freedom, not verifying if what they write/reproduce is true, creating a gossip chain without caring (if) it affects people's lives and my life."

Pogba, who has 72 caps for France and helped win the 2018 World Cup in Russia, added that he was taking legal action against the publishers.

The report came days after Macron paid tribute to a French history teacher who was beheaded by an Islamist radical for using cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a class on freedom of expression for 13-year-olds.

France is facing a growing boycott movement in Muslim countries over President Macron's refusal to condemn the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, which are considered blasphemous under Islam.

Macron last week defended a French schoolteacher who was beheaded by a teenage extremist after showing his students such cartoons during a class on freedom of expression.

In a tweet on Sunday, Mr Macron said France respected all differences in a spirit of peace, but did not accept hate speech and defended reasonable debate. “We will not give in, ever,” he said.

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