CADIZ, Spain: Cadiz defender Juan Cala denied racially abusing Valencia's Mouctar Diakhaby during Sunday's 2-1 win in La Liga, saying he had been caught up in "a media circus" and "a public lynching".
In a first in Spanish football, Valencia's players left the pitch after Diakhaby reacted furiously following an altercation with Cala in the first half. Diakhaby told the referee he had been racially abused.
Valencia eventually returned to the pitch and resumed the game, saying the referee had warned them that they could face a sanction otherwise. Diakhaby asked to be substituted but gave his blessing to the team to return.
The French defender spoke for the first time about the incident in a video posted on his official Twitter account on Tuesday, saying he had been "very hurt" and hoped La Liga would sanction Cala.
But Cala, speaking at a news conference, repeated that he had not racially abused Diakhaby and had only said "leave me in peace" following a dispute for the ball.
"What has happened is a media circus, a public lynching," Cala told a virtual news conference.
"The best thing would have been to get me and (Diakhaby) together in a room to explain what happened. Instead, it's been a circus. I was judged before the game was over."
Cala, 31, also lamented being assumed guilty of the insult without any audio proof.
"There are 20 or 25 cameras around, who knows how many microphones, and no-one heard (the insult). So at the very least let me have some doubt about what happened," he said.
Diakhaby said a Cadiz player had suggested the Valencia players could resume play if Cala apologised to him.
"Me and my teammates said 'No, it doesn't work like that, you can't just say something like that, apologise and move on'."
"I hope the league impose sanctions," he added.
Cala said he would "quit football tomorrow" if a team mate confirmed he had offered to apologise.