World Cup winner Lilian Thuram has blasted the handling in Italy of the racist abuse directed at Juventus winger Blaise Matuidi during the Italian champions’ 1-0 win at Cagliari on Saturday, asking why more wasn’t done to support his countryman on the night.
“We are not tackling the issue of racism as we should be,” said Thuram, who won two Italian league titles in five years at Juventus, to AFP.
“Why did the referee not stop the match, why don’t the white players leave the field when Matuidi is insulted?
“If no-one asks these questions, the situation will be the same 20 years from now.”
Frenchman Matuidi revealed after Juve’s win in Sardinia that he had been the subject of racist chanting.
Blaise Matuidi has revealed he witnessed “scenes of racism” during Juventus’ win over Cagliari on Saturday pic.twitter.com/wpOxmRbhoA
— B/R Football (@brfootball) January 7, 2018
After hearing abuse from the stands late in the first half Matuidi rushed to referee Giampaolo Calvarese, but the official ignored his pleas to intervene and Medhi Benatia and Paulo Dybala had to calm their teammate down.
Cagliari apologised to the 30-year-old the following day but then went unpunished for the incident by Serie A, with a disciplinary report on Tuesday saying that “no determination can be made with regard to Cagliari for the deplorable expressions of racial discrimination of which Juventus player Blaise Matuidi reports he was the subject”.
Saturday’s abuse follows similar racist chants directed at Matuidi during Juve’s 3-1 win at Verona late last month, for which Verona were fined €20,000 by the Italian league.
Thuram, who won the World Cup with France in 1998 and the European Championships two years later, also criticised Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann‘s decision to black up when dressing up as a Harlem Globetrotters basketball player for a party.
“This fancy dress is not a trivial thing. A young black man who wants to dress up as Superman doesn’t paint himself white,” said Thuram.
“That costume tells the story of a history of abuse.”
AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso said on Friday that the under-pressure club were looking at a frugal January transfer window after their summer spending spree failed to turn their ailing fortunes around.
“No player has asked to leave, the owners know that I’m okay,” said Gattuso on the eve of Saturday’s Serie A game against Crotone before the two-week winter break in Italy.
“The best gift would be not to lose players to injuries, I don’t expect anything except to put my players in the best physical and mental condition.”
Milan have fallen foul of UEFA’s financial fair play regulations, with questions about the stability of the Chinese-led consortium that purchased the club from Silvio Berlusconi for €740m in April.
Milan took a loan from US private equity fund Elliott worth more than €300m.
New owner Li Yonghong then funded a €230m spending spree last summer but it has failed to produce immediate results.
Milan have slipped to 11th in the Italian league, 23 points behind leaders Napoli and some way back from the European aspirations of their new owners.
“The transfer window can’t be a distraction,” continued Gattuso who took over from Vincenzo Montella in November.
“We don’t need to sign anyone because we have really good players and I want to work with these boys.”
Marek Hamsik on Saturday scored his 116th goal in all competitions to overtake Diego Maradona as Napoli’s all-time record goal scorer.
The 30-year-old Slovakian attacking midfielder has been at Napoli for 10 years and set the new mark just before the break in the Serie A leader’s game against Sampdoria.
Hamsik picked up a Dries Mertens cross to give his side a 3-2 advantage heading into the second half at their San Paolo stadium.
Hamsik joined Napoli in 2007 as a 20-year-old and is now captain and a stalwart of the side hoping to win their first Scudetto since the days of Argentina legend Maradona.
Maradona took just seven years to score his 115 goals between 1984 and 1991, helping the team to their only two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990.