Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann has offered his support to teammate Ansu Fati after the 17-year-old was the subject of a racist description in a match report of the team’s 5-1 win over Ferencváros. Fati scored one goal and assisted another in Wednesday’s victory, after which a report in Spanish newspaper ABC praised the teenager’s performance with highly inappropriate and troubling language.
In the article, Fati’s speed was compared to that of a ‘black street seller’, running away from the police with a ‘jungle-like stampede’. Unsurprisingly, the article has been widely condemned online, with Griezmann taking to Twitter to plead for respect for Fati.
“Ansu is an exceptional guy who deserves respect like any human being,” the Frenchman wrote. “No to racism and no to bad education.”
The writer of the initial article, ABC’s Salvador Sostres, posted an apology on Thursday morning, insisting it was a misunderstanding and simply a poor attempt at a compliment.
“In Barça’s report about the match against Ferencváros, in my desire to praise the beauty of Ansu’s movements, and his class as a very young player, some expressions were taken as racist contempt,” Sostres said.
“Nothing is further from my intention, nor from my opinion, which is very favourable to the player as I have expressed in all my reports since he debuted. “I am deeply sorry for the misunderstanding and I apologise to anyone who may have been offended.”
As noted by Cadena SER’s Sique Rodríguez, Barcelona are planning to take legal action against Sostres for his comments on Fati, with lawyers prepared to start proceedings Thursday.
The comments brought what was otherwise an impressive evening for Barcelona to a disappointing end. The 5-1 win ensured Barcelona ended a run of two games without a victory and raised morale ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Real Madrid.
Ronald Koeman’s side have played one game fewer than their rivals and can move level with Real on ten points if they emerge victorious.