Emmanuel Adebayor has angrily accused French club Lyon of a “ridiculous excuse” for opting not to sign him.
The Ligue 1 club had considered a move for the 32-year-old free agent due to Alexandre Lacazette’s injury, despite also signing 19-year-old Jean-Philippe Mateta from third-tier Chateauroux.
Adebayor met with Bruno Genesio on Friday, after the coach’s pre-match press conference in which he said the striker “could indeed” sign, only to then pull out of any deal because of his participation in the Africa Cup of Nations with Togo and his ineligibility for the Champions League.
The former Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur striker has hit back and told L’Equipe: “They said that? That’s nonsense. They came to me after we had qualified [for the Africa Cup of Nations].
“They knew I was going to play. If they start looking for such excuses, they will kill themselves. I’m the captain of my country, so how could I not go? What if a Frenchman refused to play in the Euros?”
Adebayor revealed that terms were agreed on Tuesday and that Lyon wanted to send a private jet to Lome [capital of Togo].
“I arrived on Friday morning to speak to the coach,” he added. “I thought it was just a medical then to sign. The coach asked me surprising questions. He wanted to know if I was married, if I had a kid.
“I’ve been playing at the highest level for 15 years and I have worked with some of the best coaches in the world – Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho, Didier Deschamps, Roberto Mancini.
“He asked me why it didn’t work at Crystal Palace. I told him that I’ve always played for teams aiming for the English title or a European title. It’s the first time I’ve been in a team battling relegation and the play didn’t suit me.
“I think the Champions League win against [Dinamo] Zagreb changed things. There’s a little disappointment obviously because I really liked Lyon, like I said to the coach. If they didn’t want me, why did they make a ridiculous excuse?
“But I’m stronger than that in my head. I could have died in 2010 so nothing can touch me today. I will move onto something else, even if this was a really funny chapter.”
Adebayor began his senior career in Ligue 1 with Metz and Monaco before spending a decade in the Premier League with Arsenal, Manchester City, Spurs and Palace. While at City, he spent the second half of the 2010-11 season on loan at Real Madrid.