Paris Saint-Germain's Yuri Berchiche denies claim he once hit referee

Paris Saint-Germain left back Yuri Berchiche has denied that he hit a referee during the early days of his career.

Berchiche, 27, who joined PSG from Real Sociedad earlier this summer, addressed a claim that he had hit the official as he was beginning his career with Athletic Bilbao.

He told Le Parisien it was untrue and added: "The truth is that, after a heated period with a lot of challenges, I threatened the referee.

"I never hit him. I have never hit anybody in my life, not on the pitch nor off it."

The incident saw him suspended for four months, meaning he missed the Under-17 World Cup, and he added: "It is true that I was a player with a strong temper and that the punishment was not unfair. However, I do think it was excessive."

Berchiche, who also had a spell at Spurs, joined PSG earlier this month in a deal reported to be worth an initial €13 million.

He said contact between the clubs over a move went back to January but at the time he was "unconvinced that it was the best option."

He added: "I wanted to stay with Sociedad to continue to improve. Coming to PSG did not guarantee that and I wanted to play and help the club to qualify for the Europa League."

Berchiche said coach Unai Emery's intervention had persuaded him to make the switch, adding: "He called me about a month and a half ago, while I was on holiday in Greece, and I am grateful for that.

"He was convincing. When you know that the coach wants you but that the sporting director is also keen, it is a quick and easy decision."

Berchiche will be in competition with France international Layvin Kurzawa for the left-back role and said: "I also want to learn from him because I consider him one of the best full-backs in the world today."