at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Barcelona – Barcelona demanded the eradication of racism from Spain's football stadiums after a fan threw a banana at Brazilian full-back Dani Alves during their 3-2 weekend away win over Villareal.
The banana landed on the pitch near 30-year-old Alves just as he was about to take a corner, the latest in a series of racist taunts that he has suffered in more than a decade playing in Spain with Sevilla and then Barcelona.
The Brazilian showed his scorn for the attack by picking up the banana and taking a bite out of it before going on with game and setting up a goal in Barcelona's dramatic come-from-behind victory.
“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.
Barcelona welcomed the condemnation of the banana insult by Villareal, who sent a message on Twitter after their defeat saying: “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.
“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.”
Alves' team-mates and fans lent him 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.
Former England international Gary Lineker who once played for Barcelona, tweeted after the match: “Utterly brilliant reaction from Alves. Treat the racist berk with complete disdain!” – Sapa-AFP