Before the friendly match between the national soccer teams of Peru and Morocco in Madrid, several Peruvian players got into a scuffle with Spanish police officers. The incident happened late Monday evening in front of the South American team hotel, as reported by state TV broadcaster RTVE and other media. Several players had to go to the guard.
The incident was confirmed both by the authorities in Madrid and by various Peruvian authorities. Peru lost 2-0 to Germany in Mainz on Saturday and were due to play Morocco on Tuesday night in the Spanish capital.
Videos published by media such as the Spanish specialist newspaper "AS" show how players and other delegation members fight, sometimes very violently, with numerous police officers. The news agency Europa Press, citing the Spanish authorities, wrote that an official had been injured in the eye.
Meanwhile, in Peru's media, it was said that the pros wanted to protect the many fans in front of the hotel from overly aggressive police intervention. A TV reporter reported that, among other things, the flags were violently snatched from the peacefully celebrating supporters for no reason.
Peru's first-choice goalkeeper and team captain Pedro Gallese, who is said to have injured the police officer, told the Peruvian TV station América: "We wanted to greet the fans and suddenly they (the police officers) start beating us." The 33-year-old from the US team Orlando City Soccer Club and at least three other professionals left a Madrid police station in a taxi early Tuesday morning, reported "AS" and Peruvian media.
The tussle threatens to become a political issue: the Peruvian Foreign Ministry in Lima announced that it would "ensure the physical integrity of all players in the national team". In addition, "the competent authorities (in Spain) will be asked to clarify the situation immediately". The Peruvian Football Association and the police union of the Andean country declared their "solidarity" with the professionals. The Spanish security authorities, on the other hand, justified the actions of the police.