Lukaku Speaks Out Against Discrimination Following Racial Abuse Incident
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Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku has publicly addressed the racial abuse he endured from Juventus supporters on Tuesday, delivering an unambiguous message: "F*ck racism." The formidable Belgian forward has been in exceptional form, scoring five goals in four games for both club and country.
His stoppage-time equalizer from the penalty spot during the Coppa Italia semi-final match kept the tie on a knife-edge as both teams anticipate the second leg.
A Blight on the Beautiful Game
Regrettably, the match has garnered attention for all the wrong reasons.
A faction of Juventus fans located behind Mattia Perin's goal resorted to monkey chants and gestures aimed at Lukaku, initially as an attempt to distract the striker and subsequently in frustration following his successful penalty conversion.
Lukaku received a red card due to his alleged provocative celebration in retaliation to the racist behavior. His agency, Roc Nation Sports International, has since condemned these actions. The forward turned to Instagram to implore authorities and Serie A to intensify their efforts to eradicate racism from the sport.
"History repeats," Lukaku lamented. "[I've] been through it in 2019... and 2023 again... I hope the league really takes actions for real this time because this beautiful game should be enjoyed by everyone… Thank you for the supportive messages.
Lukaku's reference to history repeating itself highlights an ongoing issue within Italian football.
Lecce's Samuel Umtiti was also subjected to racial abuse in January this year. Mario Balotelli, who experienced severe racial abuse during his tenure in Serie A, expressed solidarity with Lukaku by commenting with a black fist emoji.
Several other footballers, such as Paris Saint-germain's Kylian Mbappe and Achraf Hakimi, Chelsea's Reece James, and Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior, who has faced persistent racist abuse in Spanish football, offered their support.
Inter Milan released a statement on Twitter, asserting their commitment to fighting racism and all forms of discrimination, emphasizing the unity of the "brothers and sisters of the world." In response to the incident, Juventus announced their collaboration with the police to apprehend the culprits responsible for the racial abuse inside the Allianz Arena.