Former France and Barcelona defender Eric Abidal is set to be questioned over an attack on PSG Women player Kheira Hamraoui.
The 31-year-old Hamraoui, a midfielder for PSG and France, was attacked on November 4th after returning home from a dinner organised by her club.
Two men masked in balaclavas appeared, dragged Hamraoui out of the car, and hit her legs repeatedly with an iron bar. She was taken to hospital and given stitches in her hands and legs.
According to Le Monde, Abidal will be questioned after investigators found the SIM card in Hamraoui’s telephone was registered under his name.
The 42-year-old is not thought to be suspected of direct involvement in the attack, but investigators reportedly want to examine his "privileged relationship" with Hamraoui.
Maryvonne Caillibotte, the state prosecutor in Versailles, told Le Monde that Abidal’s wife, Hayet, may also be questioned.
Meanwhile, Le Parisien said detectives were exploring a "line of inquiry of a vengeance linked to possible adulterous relations".
Speculation that the attack was related to a personal matter only increased when it emerged that Aminata Diallo, the PSG player who drove Hamraoui home from the restaurant, informed police that she had heard the attackers tell her teammate: "So . . . you sleep with married men?"
Hamraoui has reportedly confirmed the comment, but denied ever having a relationship with a married man.
The news of the brutal attack first broke when Diallo was taken into police custody last Wednesday.
It was suspected Diallo had orchestrated the attack in order to keep Hamraoui off the football pitch, as both women play in the same role for both PSG and the French national team.
The 26-year-old Diallo was released from police custody without charge, however, and she has pleaded her innocence.
Maître Mourad Battikh, Diallo’s lawyer, said officers had found "no evidence" against her and revealed that police were following "other, more serious" lines.
According to Le Monde, Abidal’s lawyer Maître Olivier Martin confirmed the former footballer would "answer all the questions asked of him", but said he was "in no way linked directly or indirectly to the assault on Ms Hamraoui".
Abidal played mainly for Lyon and Barcelona during an illustrious career, winning two Champions League trophies with the latter side. He also earned 67 caps for France.
He was diagnosed with a tumour in his liver in 2011, and underwent a liver transplant a year later. He was unable to recover fully on the pitch, and retired in 2014.
Abidal then returned to Barcelona as the club’s director of football from 2018 and 2020.News Now - Sport News