Neymar Target of Racist Chants, Lionel Messi Mocked During Espanyol vs Barcelona

Gianni VerschuerenFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2016

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 30:  Neymar JR and Lionel Messi of Barcelona look on during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Betis Balompie at Camp Nou on December 30, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Barcelona star Neymar was the target of racist chants during the Espanyol vs. Barcelona Catalan derby on Saturday, while team-mate Lionel Messi was also taunted during the match for his role in an ongoing tax-evasion investigation.

La Liga blogger Rafael Hernandez was one of the first to notice the racist chants aimed at Neymar:

Former Barcelona presidential candidate Toni Freixa also weighed in on the matter, taking to Twitter to express his hopes the official would make a note in his report, per AS. The newspaper also reports manager Luis Enrique received abuse as well.

Enrique refused to weigh in on the matter after the 0-0 draw, per football writer Richard Martin:

The Catalan derby between Espanyol and Barcelona has a tendency to get ugly at times, and just last year, Espanyol faced a hefty fine for similar abuse of Neymar and Dani Alves, per Reuters (for the Guardian).

Meanwhile, Messi was the target of mockery as well, via Martin:

Messi has been the subject of a lengthy tax-evasion investigation that has been widely publicised, per the BBC

Both Messi and Neymar struggled on Saturday as Espanyol held the Blaugrana scoreless in their first match of 2016. The physical contest turned ugly late, and Neymar was given a yellow card for a hard foul on Pape Kouly Diop.