Sports

So about soccer’s version of Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding… it’s much messier in a less fun way

Kheira Hamraoui (l.) and Aminata Diallo.

Kheira Hamraoui (l.) and Aminata Diallo.
Image: Getty Images

A month or so ago, it appeared that Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Aminata Diallo purportedly conducted a criminal scheme so dumb that, if it wasn’t already a crime, it would be criminal.

I, along with a ton of other news outlets, picked up the story about Diallo’s teammate Kheira Hamraoui being attacked by mysterious assailants who targeted her legs. The nature of the assault — targeting a soccer player’s legs — Diallo’s proximity to it — she drove the car shuttling teammates to and from a team dinner — and her benefit from it — they play the same position for their club and national teams — made it seem so much like Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan -Part 2 that my piece was less about the attack and more about if Diallo got the idea from the ice skating scandal or if she came up with the poorly executed plan all by her lonesome.

It appears to be a lot more complicated than that, and Diallo’s involvement appears to have been fabricated even though idiots like me connected dots that made for a fun story and sidetracked a player’s career permanently (hopefully not but probably).

In a lengthy followup on the incident in The New York Times, jealousy may have still been the reason for the attack, but instead of over playing time, it may have had something to do with Hamraoui’s alleged affair with now-retired French soccer player Eric Abidal.

In interviews with police investigating the incident, Diallo said the two men who attacked her teammate accused Hamraoui of sleeping with another woman’s husband during the assault. Hayet Abidal, Eric’s wife, has since filed for divorce from the soccer player, and her lawyer claimed Eric admitted to having an affair with Hamraoui. During the investigation, police also learned the chip in Hamraoui’s cellphone was registered under Eric Abidal’s name. She said it was linked to an ex-boyfriend.

In a move that you should never do, Eric Abidal turned to Instagram to publicly air family drama and plead for her forgiveness. Eric and Hayet have yet to be questioned about the attack, but it seems likely they will be. It’s all very messy, and you can read the whole thing on The New York Times if you have a subscription or change devices and click on the link in different platforms enough times.

The only thing beginning to look clear is Diallo never should have been dragged into this, but Hamraoui named her as a suspect in an act of self-preservation? Narcissism? Racism? I have no fucking clue, and I’m not touching it because legal already spent too much time on my last story. Whatever the reason, that accusation conjured up images and narratives of an Idiot of the Century, and it shouldn’t have. My apologies, Aminata.

That said, Diallo, who spent nights in jail over this shit, has not been cleared of any charges, and police still have a laptop and two of her cellphones. Neither has played since Diallo’s appearance days after the attack and before she was charged.

Hamraoui has added club officials and other teammates to the list of possible suspects (PSG didn’t comment on the story), and teammates are literally distancing themselves from her locker, but both players are back training with the club.

Yeah, that training room is in the running for the most awkward place on Earth right now.

The story is a lot less joyous dissolved of the Harding-Kerrigan lunacy. When you add in two player’s soccer careers are forever marred, a woman was beaten with an iron, the assailants are still at large, a marriage is over, I look like an idiot, the investigation isn’t going to end anytime soon, etc., it’s just depressing.

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