Romelu Lukaku warned the potential of Serie A is being held back by racism in the stadium. “Sometimes we players have to take matters into our own hands.”
The former Manchester United striker spoke at length to Sky Sports UK and you can read the rest of his comments here.
While Lukaku has embraced his new experience in Italy, there are some areas where Serie A really has to step up and improve, above all clamping down on racism.
“I think last year was a sad year for the world in general, lots of unnecessary incidents happened, especially in football where I'm really watching this happening.
“This year we have to do better and we need to take action. We need to educate people. Education is key - I'm lucky that I have been to school and I've been in a school where we had over 50 different nationalities.
“In football, what happened to me, to Mario [Balotelli], or to [Miralem] Pjanic - for me Italy is a beautiful country to live in. But Italy has such a potential to be a great league like it used to, but we have to work together to keep those ignorant people out of the stadium. It happened in Holland as well, when I watched a game in the second division.
“I spoke to the guy that it happened to where they stopped the games for one minute, I spoke to the guy and said, 'You did well to walk off the pitch and to celebrate in front of those ignorant people'. I think we need to take things into our own hands.
“I don't think we should leave it to the federations. Holland did a great job, they did a fantastic job with all of their players. Sometimes in other countries we, as players, have to take matters into our own hands.”
Lukaku ran up against the worst aspects of Italian fan culture when the Inter Curva Nord group of ultras wrote him an open letter insisting he should not feel insulted by racist abuse from Cagliari fans, but rather flattered that they feared him so much.
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/