The subject of racism in football has been brought back to the forefront of public conversation in recent weeks, with a number of incidents taking place throughout Europe. The abuse received by members of the England team in Montenegro last week was widely reported in the media, but the focus turned to Italy last night.
19-year old Juventus striker Moise Kean was subjected to a torrent of racially charged abuse from the Cagliari home supporters throughout the game, but he would ultimately have the last laugh. He netted late on to secure the points for his side, going on to pose in front of the opposition fans in celebration.
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While the footballing world usually unites to condemn such incidents, Keane's Juve teammate Leonardo Bonucci came out with some very strange comments after the game. He suggested that the striker should shoulder part of the blame for the abuse he received:
Kean knows that when he scores a goal, he has to focus on celebrating with his teammates. He knows he could've done something differently too.
There were racist jeers after the goal, Blaise heard it and was angered. I think the blame is 50-50, because Moise shouldn't have done that and the Curva (Cagliari's 'ultra' fans) should not have reacted that way.
We are professionals, we have to set the example and not provoke anyone.
Not the type of thing we usually hear from a player's teammates. While Bonucci is suggesting that Kean should not have celebrated in front of the opposition supporters in that manner, racism has no place in football. What's more, Keane only done so after he had been at the end of the abuse for most of the game.
Cagliari captain Luca Ceppitelli pleaded with his supporters to halt the abuse during the contest, while Juve's Blaise Matuidi seemed to indicate that his team should walk off the pitch at one point. When the stadium announcer warned the home fans to stop, they simply responded with jeers.
Hopefully the Italian football authorities come down hard on this one.