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Martinez slams Rudiger for challenge which fractured de Bruyne’s eye socket

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has slammed Antonio Rudiger for the reckless challenge which has cast doubt over Kevin de Bruyne’s Euro 2020 dreams.

The 29-year-old midfielder turned ‘false nine’ captained Manchester City as they slipped to a heart-breaking defeat at the hands of his former club Chelsea in the Champions League final last night.

And that trip to Dragao Stadium, in Porto, resulted in a double blow for de Bruyne.

Indeed, not only did top European honours elude the Belgian and his City teammates once again, but he had to be taken off the pitch on the hour-mark after a sickening challenge from Rudiger – who has since apologised – left him with serious facial injuries.

It was a cynical foul which referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz deemed worthy only of a yellow card on the night.

However, the result of a scan revealed that de Bruyne has suffered a broken nose and fractured eye socket to, in turn, dent his prospects of representing Belgium at this summer’s delayed Euro championships.

Speaking about the challenge, international manager Martinez said: “For me, Rudiger is very, very fortunate. When you look at the replay, there’s no clash of heads.

“He’s properly leaving the shoulder against Kevin. He seems concussed and we will see the state of that.

“But that leaves a sour taste, because Rudiger’s holding his head, it’s almost that he wants to show that he’s hiding something. For me, it was excessive force and it was reckless. And it should have been a red card.”

Earlier in the afternoon, De Bruyne tweeted: “Hi guys, just got back from the hospital. My diagnosis is acute nose bone fracture and left orbital fracture. I feel okay now. Still disappointed about yesterday obviously but we will be back.”