Everton and Ecuador striker Enner Valencia appeared to fake an injury while playing on Thursday to flee pursuing police officers.
That’s according to Alex Richards of the Daily Mirror, who noted the forward was being targeted by the authorities due to a row over alleged unpaid child maintenance fees totalling £13,350.
Here’s a look at the remarkable moment he exited the field on a cart and was chased down, per journalist Andres Munoza (h/t Bleacher Report UK):
Valencia was playing for Ecuador against Chile in a FIFA World Cup qualifier, which his team won 3-0. He is on loan with the Toffees from West Ham United.
As noted in the report, lawyers attempted to detain Valencia ahead of the game on Wednesday, although they were unsuccessful. It’s suggested the mother of his five-year-old daughter is pursuing the aforementioned sum.
On Thursday, Valencia was carried off on a stretcher during the match before being loaded onto a vehicle. The footage shows police officers in pursuit of the cart on the running track around the playing surface, with the forward then loaded into an ambulance.
Paul Marin, who is a lawyer for the mother of Valencia’s child, has criticised the authorities and Valencia himself.
“It's lamentable that certain police officers didn't collaborate with the detention of the footballer [Valencia], to ensure compliance with a judicial order,” he said, per Richards. “If they say this man earns so much, why doesn't he pay [the maintenance] monthly to his daughter.”
A solution to the dispute may be forthcoming, though. As noted in the report, Valencia’s lawyer is said to have agreed a deal to prevent the case from going to court.
Valencia endured a difficult previous campaign with West Ham and is seeking to kick-start his career again at Goodison Park. He’s made two substitute appearances in the Premier League for the Toffees.