Ligue 1

Neymar admits he acted like a 'fool' but reiterates racism claims

The Brazilian was one of five players sent off in Le Classique on Sunday evening, from which the fallout still continues

 
11:49am on Tuesday 15th September 2020
By
Martin Macdonald

Neymar has admitted that he acted like a "fool" during the fiery Le Classique fixture against Marseille on Sunday, but has not backed down in his accusation that he was racially abused.

In the Ligue 1 fixture, Marseille eventually won 1-0, but the result was overshadowed by a brawl in the final stages which saw no less than five players dismissed by the referee.

Neymar was one of these players as he got involved in an altercation with Alvaro Gonzalez.

Shortly after, he could be seen complaining to the fourth official that Alvaro had used racist language, while he also took to Twitter following the match to provide further details on the alleged comments.

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Alvaro has not been found guilty of using any racist language yet and has received full support from Marseille.

Neymar has now released a statement indicating his regret in losing his temper in getting sent off, but reiterated that racism must be kicked out of football and society.

"Yesterday I revolted. I was punished with red because I wanted to hit someone who offended me," the statement read.

"I thought I could not leave without doing something because I realised that those in charge would not do anything, did not notice or ignored the fact. During the game, I wanted to answer as always: playing football. The facts showed that I did not succeed. I revolted...

"In our sport, aggressions, insults, swearing are part of the game, of the dispute. You can't be affectionate. I understand this guy partly, all is part of the game, but racism and intolerance are unacceptable.

"I am black, son of black, grandson and great-grandson of black also. I am proud and do not see myself as different from anyone. Yesterday, I wanted those in charge of the game (referees, assistants) to position themselves impartially and to understand that there is no longer such a place for a prejudiced attitude.

"Reflecting and seeing all the manifestation of what happened, I am saddened by the feeling of hatred that we can provoke when, in the heat of the moment, we snap.

"Should I have ignored it? I don't know yet... Today, with a cool head, I say yes, but in due course, my companions and I asked the referees for help and we were ignored. That's the point!

"We who are involved in entertainment need to reflect. An action led to a reaction and got where it did. I accept my punishment because I should have followed the path of clean football. I hope, on the other hand, that the offender will also be punished.

"Racism exists. It exists, but we have to stop it. No more. Enough!

"The guy was a fool. I also acted like a fool for letting me get involved in that... I still have the privilege of keeping my head up today, but we all need to reflect that not all black and white people are in the same condition.

"The damage from the confrontation can be disastrous to both sides. Whether you are black or white, I don't want to and we shouldn't mix subjects. Skin colour we don't choose. Before God, we are all equal.

"Now, yesterday, I lost in the game and I lacked wisdom. Being in the centre of this situation or ignoring a racist act will not help. I know. But pacifying this 'anti-racism' movement is our obligation so that the less privileged will naturally receive their defence.

"We will meet again and it will be my way: playing football. Stay in peace! Stay in Peace! You know what you said... I know what I did. More love to the world."

Following their loss in the Champions League final and subsequent league defeats versus Lens and Marseille, PSG have now gone three matches without a victory for the first time since 2011.

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