Football News

Bonucci releases statement following criticism for Kean racism comments

By Harry Edwards

Published: 22:36, 3 April 2019

Juventus centre-back Leonardo Bonucci has released a statement to explain his comments on racist chants aimed at Moise Kean.

Kean was racially abused by Cagliari fans throughout Juventus’ 2-0 win on Tuesday night, both before and after scoring his side’s second goal.

What happened at Cagliari? Five key things to know…

  1. A section of Cagliari supporters could be heard hurling racist abuse at Kean during Tuesday’s Serie A clash.
  2. After scoring Juventus’ second goal, Kean stood still and held out his arms in front of the home fans.
  3. More abuse was heard and Kean’s teammate Blaise Matuidi allegedly asked the referee for the game to be stopped.
  4. After the match, Bonucci said the blame “should be split 50-50” between Kean and the Cagliari fans, suggesting the teenager had provoked the abusers.
  5. After his comments were met with condemnation by the football world, Bonucci has now sought to clarify his thoughts.

The 19-year-old responded to the chant by celebrating his goal in front of the Cagliari fans, which brought more abuse – which Bonucci initially appeared to criticise post-match.

In an interview, Bonucci said: “[The blame] should be split 50-50.

“He (Kean) needs to be contained and only think about celebrating with the team.”

Bonucci’s initial comments caused outrage among the football world with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Demba Ba and Borussia Dortmund’s official Twitter account.

And now, the Italian has sought to clarify his comments, condemning racism and the abuse aimed at Kean.

“After 24 hours I want to clarify my feelings,” he wrote on his official Instagram account.

“Yesterday I was interviewed right at the end of the game, and my words have been clearly misunderstood, probably because I was too hasty in the way I expressed my thoughts.

“Hours and years wouldn’t be enough to talk about this topic. I firmly condemn all forms of racism and discrimination.

“The abuses are not acceptable at all and this must not be misunderstood.”

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Football’s outrage at Bonucci’s initial comments

While football is often divided by rivalry between teams, players and opposing fans, the sport united in its outrage at Bonucci initially appearing to blame Kean partly for his abuse.

Mario Balotelli also responded strongly, replying to Kean’s Instagram post with the comment: “Bravo! And to Bonucci, he’s lucky I wasn’t there. Instead of defending you, he does this? I am shocked.”

Kean’s agent, Mino Raiola, told BBC Sport: “I am with my players until the end. If in the team or the club there are people who are not willing to fight racism they should be leaving.”