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Football: FIFA must root out strip-poker "liar" - Ramos

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Spain defender Sergio Ramos on Tuesday urged FIFA to denounce the Brazilian journalist who claimed that the world champions had played strip-poker during an alcohol-fuelled party at the Confederations Cup.

The report, which appeared on website Globo Esporte, said members of the Spain squad had invited women back to their rooms following the opening 2-1 win over Uruguay in Recife on June 16.

Reports subsequently emerged that some of Spain's players had been robbed, and in a statement released on Monday, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed the allegations, but rubbished the reports of the party.

The RFEF alleged that "six players of the national team were the object of a burglary in the team hotel" in Recife and said it "denies completely" the allegations against Spain's players.

Spain reported the thefts to the police, but the hotel denied the claims of a burglary.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Ramos urged world governing body FIFA to take action against those responsible for the party story.

"The federation has released a statement. We'd like FIFA to denounce the liar who's trying to make a name for himself on the back of a generation of players who've shown that they are the best team of the last few years," he said.

"You can't play with the reputation of a country like Spain, which has a very clean image, and you can't play with the families, fiancees and children that we might have.

"Calling all that into question by inventing a story like that is very serious. We hope that the law puts them in their place and that we're left to pursue our own path."

Ramos dismissed suggestions that the report about the party was a deliberate ploy by the Brazilian media to destabilise Spain, who are the favourites to face Brazil in the final on Sunday.

"I don't know if it's a strategy from them, but the national team are not going to be destabilised by stories of no importance," he said.

"Brazil have welcomed us with lots of affection."

Spain play Italy in the semi-finals in Fortaleza on Thursday, a day after Brazil meet Uruguay in Belo Horizonte.

Italy will be without first-choice striker Mario Balotelli, who has returned home after being diagnosed with a torn thigh muscle, but Ramos played down the significance of the 22-year-old AC Milan player's absence.

"Balotelli is a player who can make a difference and is very important for them, but that's in the past, because he can't play or help his team," said the Real Madrid defender.

"But if it's not him, it'll be another player who'll play as well or who has different qualities to him. It's up to us to stay totally focused for the 90 minutes."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130625/football-fifa-must-root-out-strip-poker-liar-ramos