Idrissa Gana Gueye missed Paris Saint Germain’s win over Montpellier on Saturday because he did not want to play in a shirt featuring the rainbow flag, according to reports in the French media.
PSG thrashed Montpellier 4-0 at Stade de la Mosson, with Lionel Messi scoring a brace for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
Former Everton midfielder Gueye travelled with the PSG squad but was absent from their team sheet, with Pochettino later revealing the player “had to leave the team sheet for personal reasons. But he isn’t injured”.
Gueye’s absence raised questions over whether he had missed the match because he refused the wear the rainbow flag, the symbol of the LGBTQ+ community.
All of Ligue 1’s games last weekend featured the flag on players’ shirt numbers and captains’ armbands as part of an initiative for the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on May 17.
French publications L’Équipe and Le Parisien pointed out that Gueye had missed the same round of games last season for what was reported at the time as “stomach problems”, according to Get French Football News.
Gueye’s representatives denied he boycotted the fixture last season but have yet to release a statement on his absence on Saturday.
However, French outlet RMC Sport claim Gueye’s absence was indeed because of his refusal to wear a kit featuring the rainbow flag.
Ahead of the win over Montpellier, PSG posted a picture of their away kit featuring the rainbow flag.
“On World Day Against Homophobia, our jerseys will have the rainbow flag, symbol of peace and diversity of the LGBT movement,” read a statement.
The questions around Gueye’s absence last weekend will be an unwanted distraction for PSG as they prepare for their final game of the season.
They host Metz at the Parc des Princes on Saturday.