Updated February 20th, 2024 at 23:39 IST

AC Milan forward Rafael Leão latest victim of racial abuse in Italian soccer

AC Milan forward Rafael Leão has denounced “small-minded” people after he was the latest victim of racial abuse as the problem continues to blight Italian soccer. Leão, who is Black, shared an Instagram story from a social media user who had written in Italian...

Rafael Leao | Image:AP
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AC Milan forward Rafael Leão has denounced “small-minded” people after he was the latest victim of racial abuse as the problem continues to blight Italian soccer.

Leão, who is Black, shared an Instagram story from a social media user who had written in Italian: “I can’t bear to see you anymore. I can’t bear to support you on the field. I am becoming racist … Go away as soon as possible, you and your followers.”

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The 24-year-old Leão commented on it in Portuguese on Tuesday, saying: “Unfortunately, there continues to be these type of small-minded people in the world.”

The latest incident of racism in Italian soccer comes exactly a month after Leão walked off the field with the rest of his Milan teammates after Rossoneri goalkeeper Mike Maignan was racially abused at Udinese .

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The fans were swiftly identified and banned for life by Udinese.

“We stand with you Rafa,” Milan said in a post on X, formerly Twitter. “In our fanbase and in football, there’s no room for racism.”

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There have been numerous racist incidents in Italian and European soccer for years, with victims in Italy including Kevin-Prince Boateng, Mario Balotelli and Romelu Lukaku.

Lazio was sanctioned with a one-match partial stadium closure last month for racist chants directed at Lukaku.

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Published February 20th, 2024 at 23:39 IST