Lukaku calls on player unity in face of racism
Inter Milan forward Romelu Lukaku has called on his fellow footballers to make a stand after being the subject of racist abuse from Cagliari fans.
Monkey chants could be heard as the Belgium international stepped up to take a penalty and continued after he scored the spot kick for Inter's second goal in their 2-1 victory.
The issue has been prevalent in football recently with Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham as well as Manchester United duo Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba having suffered racist abuse on Twitter after missing penalties.
"Many players in the last month have suffered from racist abuse," Lukaku posted on Instagram on Monday. "I did yesterday too.
"Football is a game to be enjoyed by everyone and we shouldn't accept any form of discrimination that will put our game in shame. I hope the football federations all over the world react strongly on all cases of discrimination!!
"Social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) need to work better as well with football clubs because everyday you see at least a racist comment under a post of a person of color we've been saying it for years and still no action.
"Ladies and gentlemen it's 2019. Instead of going forward, we're going backwards and I think as players we need to unify and make a statement on this matter to keep this game clean and enjoyable for everyone."
Serie A announced later on Monday that it will ask all 20 clubs to nominate one player to be included in the "anti-racism team" in response to the abuse Lukaku endured. The league has yet to make a statement on any possible punishment for Cagliari.
After the match, Inter boss Antonio Conte said: "I did not hear anything but, having said, while I can't comment on this because I did not hear it, on many other issues, in Italy we need to improve and be more educated and respectful to those doing their job."
Cagliari condemned the racist abused suffered by Lukaku in a statement, but rejected "the outrageous charge and silly stereotypes addressed to Cagliari supporters and the Sardinian people, which are absolutely unacceptable."
Cagliari fans also racially abused Juventus forward Moise Kean during a Serie A clash last season but the club faced no punishment from either Serie A or the Italian FA.
In the previous season, their supporters had aimed racist chants at Juve midfielder Blaise Matuidi, while during his time at Pescara, Sulley Muntari walked off the pitch following abuse from supporters of the Sardinian club.