Liverpool target and Sporting CP's Gelson Martins has been at the forefront of transfer rumours following an impressive run of form, however his support of embattled Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo has thrown his hopes of a summer move into question.
Martins' good friend and former teammate, Semedo was arrested and detained for allegedly tying up and beating a man, whilst holding him against his will and robbing him of €23,000. The defender has yet to be found guilty and 22-year-old Martins has twice made his support public.
Gelson Martins, who prior to his goal was on a yellow card, just sacrificed a place in Friday's showdown with Porto to show support for his friend and former teammate, Rúben Semedo (accused of kidnapping, attempted murder, etc). Heroic or stupid? I'll let you decide. pic.twitter.com/sVjlDAJid4— Marino Peixoto (@MarinoPeixoto) February 26, 2018
Martins had initially left a message on Instagram which translated to: "With you to the end of the world." However, it was his second public declaration which could be set to have long lasting effects on both his, and Sporting's future.
The Portuguese side were locked in a tight affair with Moreirense on Monday before a moment of brilliance from Martins secured a vital victory in injury time - as per Sport Witness.
Whilst celebrating the 22-year-old revealed a white under shirt which was adorned with the same message he posted on Instagram, leading to a yellow card which saw him receive his marching orders having picked up an earlier booking.
The resulting suspension has come as a major blow to Sporting's hopes of cutting the gap at the top of the league table as Martins will now be forced to watch from the sidelines as his team play their rivals and current league leaders Porto.
Porto currently stand five points ahead of Sporting, who are desperate to end their 15-year league title drought, and the chance to cut the gap to just two points have been made all the more harder following Martins' support of his troublesome former teammate.
Martins has had a host of top European clubs vying for his signature, with Liverpool consistently linked with the attacker. However, Sporting have been reluctant to sanction his move after tipping him for super-stardom as they have continually meddled with his €60m release clause - which is set to expire before World Cup.
Although his actions in support of Semedo could cause clubs to look elsewhere, regardless of his price-tag.