Lukaku: Racism is something that must be answered

By Sports Desk September 06, 2019

Romelu Lukaku has repeated his call for more to be done to fight racism in football after he was targeted by monkey chants in a game at Cagliari.

On his second Serie A appearance for Inter, Lukaku was subjected to racist abuse while preparing to take a penalty, which he converted to win the game 2-1.

Lukaku subsequently used social media to ask football authorities and players to "unify" in the fight against racism, with Cagliari having been involved in similar incidents involving Blaise Matuidi and Moise Kean in recent years.

Racism has also been a problem in the opening weeks of the Premier League campaign with Paul Pogba, Kurt Zouma and Marcus Rashford among those targeted with abuse on social media.

Asked if players should leave the field if targeted by fans, Lukaku told Rolling Stone: "No. But I think he has to take a stand, yes.

"Because racism is something that must be answered. Look at England, where several things have happened to players from Manchester United and Chelsea in recent weeks: the question must be addressed.

"Football is something international, multicultural. If you really want to attract the best players in the world, you must welcome them with open arms, because in turn the athletes must adapt to the culture in which they arrive. Therefore it is fundamental not to discriminate, and to appreciate what one brings with his presence.

"I think it was a great thing for the club to launch a campaign like BUU - Brothers Universally United. And if they want my contribution, I'll give it to them. If I hear racist chants, I will answer. But my thoughts today are on the football field, to help my team-mates win."

Lukaku's former Manchester United team-mate Chris Smalling, who joined Roma on loan, has also spoken out against racism.

"I think racism is unacceptable and should not be stood for," Smalling told reporters on Friday. "It is not an issue just in Italy, it is around the world.

"There needs to be a change, there will be generational changes and younger people will have a different perspective. But it does happen, not just in Italy but around the world, and it is very sad and unacceptable that it still happens in these modern times."

Lukaku initially thrived at United but found his opportunities limited last season under new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the striker scoring two goals in two Serie A games since joining Inter.

"First of all, my decision is about sport. Inter was the club I wanted to play for in Italy and the coach [Antonio Conte] was an important element in my choice, besides the fact that I knew the team had some excellent players," Lukaku said.

"But even from a family point of view it was a good choice, because my brother [Jordan] is already here. I think Italy is a nice place to live, I am a person who likes to discover different cultures: not only playing in different football leagues but learning different cultures.

"This is why I am very happy to be here."

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