Football stars round the world took to social media on Monday to post photos of themselves with bananas in support of Barcelona’s Dani Alves after fruit was thrown at him during a match the night before.
The banana landed near Alves as he prepared to take a corner in the 75th minute of the Spanish league match at Villareal. It was the latest in a series of racist taunts that the 30-year old Brazilian has suffered in more than a decade playing in Spain. Alves responded by picking up the banana, peeling it and eating it before taking the corner.
And Alves had the last laugh as Barcelona scored twice in the next eight minutes to win, 3-2.
"I have been in Spain 11 years and it has been the same for 11 years. You have to laugh at these backward people," Alves said after Sunday's game.
"We are not going to change it, so you have to take it almost as a joke and laugh at them."
On Monday, other players and both the clubs gave Alves public support.
"We are all monkeys," his compatriot Neymar said on the Instagram social networking site, where he posted a photograph of himself eating a banana and his two-year-old son hugging a cuddly banana toy.
Sergio Aguero, a striker with Manchester City and Argentina, Marta, a Brazilian who was women’s world player of the year five times, and former Brazil international Roberto Carlos also posted internet photos of themselves with bananas.
Barcelona on Monday demanded the eradication of racism from Spain's football stadiums.
"Barcelona totally supports and stands with player Dani Alves after the insults he received Sunday at the Villareal ground by certain people at the game," the club said in a statement.
Villareal’s official Twitter feed said: "Pity to see an ignoramus capable of such a lamentable act. There is no room for it in sport and even less in our club."
Villareal's reaction was a move in the right direction towards "converting grounds into areas where sports take priority and where the bad behaviour by some people is, first, isolated and then, eradicated for good," Barcelona said.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)
Date created : 2014-04-28