Soccer teams and players across the world sent messages of support to Kalidou Koulibaly after the Napoli defender was a target of alleged racial abuse.
Inter Milan fans reportedly made monkey chants towards Koulibaly during a 1-0 win. Following this incident, Inter will be forced to play their next two home Serie A games behind closed doors, ESPN reports.
After the Inter Match, the centre-back dropped a message on social media. “I am only sorry for the defeat and above all to have left my brothers,” he said. “But I am proud of the colour of my skin; to be French, Senegalese, Neapolitan: a man.”
Frere , Je suis amer pour ne pas dire meurtri et consterné par ce que tu as vécu. Mais, je te connais suffisamment pour t’avoir pratiqué pendant des années. Ces actes abominables ne vont nullement t’atteindre. Par rapport à notre race, nous en sommes fiers. Et, au delà, nous allons continuer à la défendre comme nous défendrons les couleurs de notre Patrie. Tu as rappelé à la face du monde que l’identité ne se compartimente pas. @@@ Allez le Lion###
284.1k Likes, 2,446 Comments – Sadio Mane (@sadiomaneofficiel) on Instagram: “Frere , Je suis amer pour ne pas dire meurtri et consterné par ce que tu as vécu. Mais, je te…”
Fellow teammate Sadio Mane posted a picture of his Senegal teammate on Instagram with the caption: “I am bitter, not to say bruised and dismayed, by what you have experienced. But I know you well enough that these abominable acts will not reach you at all. We are proud of our race and we will continue to defend it as we defend the colours of our homeland. You reminded the world that identity does not compartmentalise.”
Soon enough, players all over the world sent their support messages on social media.
Cristiano Ronaldo took to Instagram to say “No to racism and any offense and discrimination” and that in the world of football there needs to be “more respect and education.”
Kalidou Koulibaly’s Napoli teammate Dries Mertens said that he’s “one of the most beautiful people” he knew.
You’re one of the most beautiful people I know, please never change. Don’t react to this b*llshit. Let’s stand together! #notoracism #monfreronapolitain
270.9k Likes, 3,155 Comments – Dries Mertens (@driesmertens) on Instagram: “You’re one of the most beautiful people I know, please never change. Don’t react to this b*llshit….”
Unfortunately, racism within soccer isn’t a new thing. Stellar players like Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng have also suffered racist abuse and chants on the soccer field. This past summer, England’s Danny Rose asked his family to stay home because of racism during the World Cup. And the list goes on sadly.
But, despite the horrible actions of some fans, the camaraderie and support are amazing to see. Hopefully, more will be done to stop such incidents from happening often.