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 By Ben Gladwell

Cagliari apologise to Juventus star Blaise Matuidi over racist insults

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Cagliari have issued an apology to Juventus midfielder Blaise Matuidi after he said he had been the victim of racial abuse during the Bianconeri's 1-0 win in Sardinia on Saturday.

Matuidi wrote on his Facebook page how "weak people try to intimidate with hate. I am not a hater and can only be sorry for those who set bad examples," referring to a group of fans he heard insulting him at the Sardegna Arena on Saturday.

It is the second time that home fans have targeted the former Paris Saint-Germain player in Juve's past two away games, with Hellas Verona last week punished for the racial discrimination heard by their fans when Juve visited the Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi in December.

Cagliari will learn if they are to receive any sanctions on Monday, but they have already issued an apology to Matuidi, insisting that those who insulted him were in the minority.

"You are a great player; an example for youngsters," they wrote, in French, in a message on Twitter. "We would like to apologise if you were insulted at the Sardegna Arena for the colour of your skin. The Sardinian people are not racist and only ignorance can explain certain behaviour. Respect."

Matuidi has liked the tweet and replied: "Many thanks for the kindness and cordiality of your message."

The France international earned the support of Mario Balotelli, among others, for standing up to the abusers.

"Blaise I've been through this, don't let the ignorance of a few affect you. Not all Italians are like that. Keep doing great bro!" the Nice forward wrote on Instagram, alongside a picture of Matuidi celebrating in a PSG shirt.

Balotelli himself was the target of racial abuse while playing for Nice at Bastia last season, and had previously been insulted by Roma fans while at AC Milan in 2013.

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.

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