MASKED MAN: Steven Nzonzi is alleged to have collided with a cyclist while driving and failed to stop (PA)
FRENCH MIDFIELDER Steven Nzonzi is facing allegations that he injured a cyclist and failed to exchange insurance details after swerving to a stop at a cash point in his luxury car.
The 24-year-old Stoke City player has been connected to the roadside incident in Hale, near Manchester, through a Twitter campaign supported by Olympic legend Sir Chris Hoy, who helped circulate an image of the car that has been linked to Nzonzi.
The player, who left Blackburn for £3m to join Mark Hughes’ side over the summer, has been advised not to comment by lawyers.
The alleged collision involved cyclist Rob Lockhart, who tweeted images witnesses had taken of the car that slammed its brakes right in front of him causing mild concussion, he claimed.
Speaking about what the driver did, the cyclist said: “He pulled away and then pulled over sharply to park on double yellow lines outside a cash point. It was dangerous.
“I hit the back window with my head, helmet and face. I had mild concussion for two to three days afterwards.
“He got out of his car and said, ‘Sorry, I didn’t see you’. Then he just walked to the cashpoint. I didn’t feel he had any regard for me and what had just happened. He didn’t seem to care.”
Lockhart added: “I was in shock, checking myself, the bike and the car to see what was damaged. When he walked back to his car I said we need to exchange insurance details and he said ‘No’. He said, ‘You’re on a bike and I’m in a car, it doesn’t matter’. He was really laid back, not angry. He didn’t even check if his car was damaged.
EVIDENCE: The cyclist who claimed he was hit by the car linked back to Nzonzi
“I tried to get my phone out to take a picture and he laughed and said, ‘You won’t trace me because my plates are foreign’. He then left the scene.
“I called the police when I got home. I don’t know who he was, he had a foreign accent. I don’t follow football. I just want all this sorted out.”
It seems the social media hunt for the driver of the matt-black Audi Q7 would have taken much longer if Hoy had not joined thousands in retweeting what is reported to be Nzonzi’s vehicle.
Hoy retweeted the image with the words: “This chap said ‘good luck finding me on foreign plates’ after knocking a cyclist over in Hale. Please help find him.”
A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: “The driver failed to stop at the scene and we are making efforts to trace and speak to him.
“Witnessed have also helped us and we are pursuing these leads. Any information we receive that may help will be acted upon.”
Stoke have declined to comment so far on the incident involving their recent signing.