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Soccer-‘Go and pick cotton’: Lille’s Sanches reveals racial abuse in cup win

Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches has said he was racially abused during Lille’s 3-1 win away at Ajaccio in the French Cup on Sunday, becoming the latest high-profile footballer in Europe to receive such abuse.

Although the match was held behind closed doors due to COVID-19 restrictions, some supporters of the second division club were able to scale a fence a few metres behind the goal.

“For all the racist comments, we continue to laugh,” Sanches, who claimed an assist for the French Ligue 1 leaders, wrote on Instagram. “Renato go and pick cotton.”

The slur refers to the slave trade between the 15th and 19th centuries when African men, women and children endured a life of subjugation on cotton plantations.

Elsewhere, Algerian winger Adam Ounas also revealed he had received racist abuse on social media after he scored a goal and assisted another in Crotone’s 4-2 Serie A win over Torino on Sunday.

Ounas shared screenshots of messages he had received on Instagram where he was called a ‘monkey’ and told to ‘go back to Africa’ with a caption: “Is this normal?”

The incidents are the latest attacks on players by fans and follows the abuse of a number of Premier League players in recent months on social media.

Manchester United’s Axel Tuanzebe, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, Chelsea’s Reece James, Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah, West Bromwich Albion’s Romaine Sawyers and Southampton’s Alex Jankewitz have all been victims.

The constant abuse prompted English soccer bodies to put pressure on social media companies to tackle the problem.

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