Kevin-Prince Boateng has hit back at Deputy PM Matteo Salvini for playing down racism in Italy and claims football needs its own Colin Kaepernick.
Salvini suggested Koulibaly’s treatment during Inter-Napoli on Wednesday stemmed more from fan rivalry, despite monkey noises being heard at San Siro.
Boateng, meanwhile, has first-hand experience of racism after he reacted to abuse by walking off during a Milan friendly in January 2013.
“It doesn’t seem to me that progress has been made in the meantime,” the Sassuolo midfielder told Corriere della Sera.
“If anything, the situation has worsened, given I had only 50 fans against me at the time. At San Siro the other night, there were 10,000.
“I felt bad for Koulibaly and those who felt his pain. It was racism. We know why people make these noises
“For some people, blacks are monkeys. There will also certainly be ignorant people in curvas, whom others think are right to imitate.
“Try asking Koulibaly how he felt when he left the field. I’ll tell you, he was under a train. For Salvini, the referee was right not to suspend the game? He’s wrong.
“Koulibaly felt bad and I think so did some Inter players. Stopping would’ve also been the right thing for the millions of people who watched the game on TV.
“I just wish people could understand what it means to be insulted for having black skin. Do we have to wait for someone to die?”
Kaepernick became an icon for anti-racism campaigners after he began kneeling during the American national anthem before NFL games in 2016, although the quarterback has not played since.
“It’s talked about in dressing rooms. We agree that we need to be brave and raise our voices,” added the Ghanaian.
“Many on Instagram write that it would be better to ignore the phenomenon, but they’re wrong.
“We need a Colin Kaepernick, someone who sacrifices everything to send a message. An anti-racism banner isn’t enough, neither is advertising during Champions League matches.
“More adverts and an awareness campaign, which starts in schools, are needed. UEFA’s ‘zero tolerance’ is a slogan that I no longer take notice of.
“The facts speak for themselves: it’s happening again and everywhere. We’re late. We have to start now, right away.”