Mikel Arteta insists there is “no problem at all” between David Luiz and Dani Ceballos amid claims the Arsenal duo were involved in a violent training ground altercation last week.
According to The Athletic, Luiz struck Ceballos in the face after taking exception to a late challenge from the midfielder during a practice match at Arsenal’s London Colney training complex last Friday.
Arteta held the session for players who were not called up for the latest round of international fixtures – and things reportedly turned sour when the Gunners boss blew the final whistle.
Having shipped a late tackle from Ceballos, Luiz is said to have reacted furiously at the end of the session and sent his team-mate tumbling to the ground by hitting him on the nose.
Ceballos reportedly drew blood from the scuffle, but when he returned to his feet and tried to retaliate the pair were split up by their fellow Arsenal players and staff.
Nevertheless, when quizzed on the reports in his pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Leeds on Sunday, Arteta played down talk of a bust-up between Luiz and Ceballos.
The Gunners boss said: “Nothing [happened]. The training is very competitive and issues happened a lot of times, those things get resolved immediately within the team and not much to say.
“There is no problem at all.”
When asked if he saw the incident, Arteta said: “No. I’ve got a really bad vision from far away! That’s why we train behind closed doors.”
Ceballos angrily denied the reports on Thursday night, quote tweeting The Athletic journalist David Ornstein’s post about the story and writing: “FAKE”.
The Spaniard was involved in a heated exchange with another Arsenal player earlier in the season, with TV cameras picking up a scuffle between him and striker Eddie Nketiah prior to their opening-day win away at Fulham.
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Nketiah and Ceballos appeared to square up to one another during the Gunners’ warm-up at Craven Cottage, but come full time the pair had solved their differences.
Arsenal will look to bounce back from a stinging defeat against Aston Villa when they go away to Leeds on Sunday, having been thrashed 3-0 by Dean Smith’s men last time out.
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