Brazilian Soccer Star Everton Luiz Leaves Match in Tears after Racist Abuse From Serbian Fans

Lead Photo: Photo by STR / Stringer
Photo by STR / Stringer
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Even with UEFA’s best attempts to “Say No to Racism,” bigotry and European soccer fandom unfortunately still go hand in hand. Partizan Belgrade midfielder Everton Luiz found that out firsthand on Sunday in the Serbian capital, as blocs of fans from local rivals FK Rad yelled monkey noises at the brasilero every time he touched the ball. And, despite warnings by both the referee and the PA announcer, the game eventually had to be stopped for a few moments while a racist banner directed at Luiz was confiscated. After the match, Luiz’s emotions bubbled over, first seeing him throw up the middle finger at the rival fans, before exiting the field in tears.

Explaining his actions after the game, Luiz also blamed some of Rad’s players, who were encouraging the fans to keep the abuse flying: “I’ve been suffering racist abuse during the entire 90 minutes and also was upset by the home players, who supported that. They were all attacking me.” That a shoving match broke out among the players after Luiz flicked off the fans didn’t help matters either, leading to the Brazilian exiting the field while being comforted by his goalkeeper Filip Kljajic. Partizan Belgrade coach Marko Nikolic acknowledged that Serbia has a problem with racism in soccer, calling this incident “a return to the reality of Serbian football.”

This isn’t the first time Serbian fans have received press for racism and xenophobia; back in 2012, Serbian fans hurled racial insults and rocks at England’s under-21 team during a qualifier for the U-21 European Championships. Of course, racism in soccer fans is not just limited to Serbia. Just last month, Nice’s Mario Balotteli complained that fans were making monkey noises at him during a game against Bastia, going so far as to facetiously ask whether racism is legal in France. On the other end of the spectrum, Juventus right back Dani Alves might have had the calmest (and funniest) reaction to a racial insult. When a banana was thrown at him during a 2014 match against Villareal, the former Barcelona star just picked up the fruit and ate it. Say no to racism, but say yes to potassium.