Euro 2024 pinching row as Spain star hits out at former Chelsea ace for 'hurting' opponent – Football News

Euro 2024 pinching row as Spain star hits out at former Chelsea ace for 'hurting' opponent

Antonio Rudiger has been accused of ‘hurting’ opponents by pinching them (Image: Getty)

Spain star Pedri has hit out at Antonio Rudiger in a bizarre ‘pinching’ row. The former Chelsea defender has a reputation for adopting the dark arts to put opponents off their game.

Rudiger’s Germany face Spain in the Euro 2024 quarter-finals tomorrow (Friday). The centre-back has been accused of showing a lack of respect to opposition players by pinching them.

He was pictured pinching Spain forward Alvaro Morata while playing for Real Madrid against rivals Atletico Madrid last season. He did the same to Paul Pogba at Euro 2020.

Barcelona midfielder Pedri has hit out at Rudiger. The 21-year-old told Spanish publication Marca: “In my opinion, his pinching during the game is a lack of respect because it hurts and bothers.”

But the Barcelona star added that Spain cannot be scared of Rudiger. He continued: “Rudiger is strong and uncompromising and played very well last season.

“But you don’t have to be afraid of him. That is more of a perception created by the media.”

Rudiger departed Chelsea and joined Real on a free transfer in 2022. He was part of the Los Blancos team that won a La Liga and Champions League double under Carlo Ancelotti.

The 31-year-old has played every minute for the hosts at Euro 2024. Germany defeated Denmark in the last-16 to set up a last-eight tie against Spain. Both teams are strong contenders to win the tournament.

After defeating Denmark, Germany manager Julian Nagelsmann accused Premier League referee Michael Oliver of being ‘picky’ with his whistle. Defender Nico Schlotterbeck had an early goal ruled out.

“It was a bizarre game somehow. The first 25 minutes were our best of the tournament. We scored what I thought was a normal goal, but the referee was very picky with his whistle,” Nagelsmann said.

Rudiger and Pedri at 2022 World Cup

Spain star Pedri has accused Antonio Rudiger of a lack of respect (Image: Getty)

“Small blocks like that happen in every corner, it wasn’t anything dramatic. Then we had the rain delay and changed things around a bit.

“We showed some play during the break because we wanted to get behind their defence quicker. We’re really good, we saw that in the first 20 minutes. We had to put up with a lot of resistance today. We need to be more patient and wait for our moments.”

Rudiger and Co. will need to play close attention to exciting Spanish attackers Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams, who have lit up the tournament so far. Nagelsmann said of Barca’s 16-year-old Yamal: “We’re not going to knock his socks off, we want the ball.

“My focus is not so much on Yamal but rather on Jamal. We will have to solve many one-on-one situations.”