Matuidi responds to racist abuse in Cagliari

Agence France-Presse
Juventus' French midfielder Blaise Matuidi (R) talks with Italian referee Gianpaolo Calvarese during the Italian Serie A football match between Cagliari Calcio and Juventus at the Sardegna Arena stadium in Cagliari, on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, on January 6, 2018. Matuidi has hit out after he suffered racist abuse during the Serie A game on January 6 against Cagliari in Sardinia and was ignored when he asked the referee to intervene. / AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA
MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP / Getty

Cagliari, Italy - Juventus's French midfielder Blaise Matuidi has hit out after he suffered racist abuse during Saturday's Serie A game against Cagliari in Sardinia and was ignored when he asked the referee to intervene.

"Today I experienced racism during the match. Weak people try to intimidate with hate, I am not a hater and can only be sorry for those who set bad examples," Matuidi said in a statement to AFP.

"Football is a way to spread equality, passion and inspiration and this is what I am here for. Peace," the 30-year-old added.

The incident took place just before half-time as the French international engaged in a tackle with a Cagliari defender. Television footage showed an angry Matuidi looking towards the stands in the Sardegna Arena.

After unsuccessfully approaching the referee to seek his intervention, a furious Matuidi was calmed down and led away by his Juventus teammates Paulo Dybala and Mehdi Benatia.

Juventus went on to win the game 1-0, when Italian winger Fernando Bernardeschi scored after 74 minutes.

The former Paris Saint-Germain player suffered similar racist chants during a match in Verona last month, for which the club was fined €20,000 by the Italian league.

Last season Ghanaian Sulley Muntari - who then played for Pescara - walked off the pitch in Cagliari after being targeted by racist abuse.