SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil dropped Manchester United winger Antony from its squad for two upcoming World Cup qualifiers after Brazilian media on Monday published details of alleged domestic abuse against his ex-girlfriend.
The Brazilian soccer confederation said Antony will not be part of the team for games against Bolivia and Peru “due to the facts that became public on Monday.”
Antony's ex-girlfriend reported him to police on May 20 over alleged domestic violence, accusations that he denied in June and again on Monday.
Brazilian media published alleged exchanges between the two, in which the player appears to threaten and intimidate the woman on several occasions.
Brazil’s soccer body said the case “needs to be investigated” and that the player’s removal was aimed at protecting him, the alleged victim and the national team.
Sao Paulo police confirmed to The Associated Press that an investigation is ongoing, but did not provide details.
The 23-year-old Antony posted a statement on Instagram earlier Monday, before he was removed from the team, saying “I vehemently deny the accusations.”
He said his relationship with the woman had been “tumultuous” but that he never physically attacked her.
“Every moment, in testimonies or in interviews, she brings a different version of the accusations,” Antony wrote.
Antony played for Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar and has scored two goals in 16 games for the national team.
Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus was called up to the national team as a replacement for the two games.
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer
Mauricio Savarese, The Associated Press