‘I suffered racist abuse in Italy as well’: Maradona offers support to Napoli star Koulibaly
Argentine football legend Diego Maradona has offered support to Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly after the player was racially abused recently. Maradona said he had also suffered racial slurs during his playing time in Italy.
Senegal international Koulibaly, 27, was subjected to racist insults including monkey chants in Napoli’s Boxing Day game at Inter Milan.
Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti said after the 1-0 defeat, during which Koulibaly was sent off, that members of his staff had repeatedly asked for the game to be suspended due to the slurs directed by Inter fans at the central defender.
The ugly incidents led to an outpouring of support for Koulibaly from the football fraternity, including from high-profile players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah.Also on rt.com 'Don’t react to this bullsh*t!': Football world unites over Koulibaly monkey chants
That has now extended to World Cup winner Maradona, 58, who played some of the finest football of his career at Napoli in the ‘80s and early ‘90s.
The Argentine great posted a picture on Instagram of himself holding up a Koulibaly shirt along with a message of support that explained how he had also suffered racist abuse from some fans while playing in Italy.
“I played for seven years in Napoli, and I also suffered the racist songs of some fans,” Maradona wrote.
“I still remember the flags that said ‘Welcome to Italy’. I feel Neapolitan and today I want to be with Kalidou Koulibaly. I hope that all this helps to ends racism in football once and for all. Greetings to all! #NoRacism.”
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Ho giocato sette anni con il Napoli e anch'io ho subito cori razzisti da alcune tifoserie. Ricordo ancora gli striscioni che recitavano "Benvenuti in Italia". Mi sento ancora più napoletano e oggi voglio essere vicino a @kkoulibaly26. Spero che questo episodio segni un punto di svolta, per eliminare una volta per tutte il razzismo dal calcio. Un saluto a tutti! #NoalRazzismo - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Yo jugué siete años en el Napoli, y también sufrí los cantos racistas de algunas hinchadas. Todavía me acuerdo de las banderas que decían "Bienvenidos a Italia". Yo me siento un napolitano más, y hoy quiero estar al lado de Kalidou Koulibaly. Espero que todo esto marque un antes y un después, para terminar de una vez con el racismo en el fútbol. Un saludo a todos! #NoalRacismo - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - I played for seven years in Napoli, and I also suffered the racist songs of some fans. I still remember the flags that said "Welcome to Italy". I feel Neapolitan and today I want to be with Kalidou Koulibaly. I hope that all this helps to ends racism in football once and for all. Greetings to all! #NoRacism
Inter Milan were ordered to play two home games behind closed doors over the shocking incident.
However, Koulibaly’s two-game suspension for his red card, which came as a result of him earning a second yellow card for remonstrating with the referee over a decision late on in the game, will still stand.
Napoli fans donned Koulibaly masks and held up posters of the player during their team’s 3-2 Serie A win against Bologna on Saturday.