Neymar targeted with racist abuse from Espanyol fans?
Barcelona superstar Neymar was allegedly subjected to strong racist abuse during Luis Enrique’s squad’s 0-0 draw in the Catalan derby against Espanyol this Saturday.
Reports in Spain say that the Brazilian was targeted by constant chants, with former Barcelona board member Toni Freixa also admitting to have heard the abuse.
He tweeted right after the match: “I trust that the racist chants which Neymar was subjected to have been carefully noted in the referee’s report.”
Andres Iniesta also remarked after the game claiming that he had heard similar reproach “in one corner, in the first half, from one supporter.”
There was a very hostile atmosphere at the RCDE stadium for the game taking place between the Catalan capital’s two popular clubs, with some home fans also teasing Luis Enrique and Lionel Messi.
Enrique refused to get involved in whether he heard the alleged raucous chants, preferring instead to keep the focus on the football.
He said: “The only thing that interests me is what is happening out on the pitch.
“If I start giving opinions one way or another, I’ll get hit from all sides – mind you, I get hit from all sides even when I don’t say anything.”
Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and then Gerard Pique were also jeered in possession repeatedly by the home fans, who will have been very pleased to see their team pick up a hard-fought point against their illustrious Catalonian rivals.
Defender Gerard Pique exclaimed while he did not personally hear the abuse, he asked for sanctions for individuals involved if they could be identified properly.
“If that happened, obviously they should be charged and the correct measures taken,” Pique said after the game ended.
However, the referee interestingly made no mention of any such misconduct from the crowd in the provided official report.
Racism at La Liga grounds has been a real serious issue through the recent years, with Barca right-back Dani Alves particularly drawing attention to the menacing problem when he picked up and wittily ate a banana thrown onto the pitch during a running game at Villarreal in May 2014.