Barcelona's Ansu Fati Receives Apology from Journalist for Racist Comments

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2020

Barcelona's Ansu Fati celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Villareal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
Joan Monfort/Associated Press

Barcelona winger Ansu Fati received an apology from Spanish newspaper journalist Salvador Sostres for a racist comment in a match report about Barca's 5-1 Champions League win over Ferencvaros on Tuesday.

Sky Sports reported Sostres, who wrote "Ansu when running has something of a gazelle, or a very young, black street seller running away from police," published an apology through ABC, his employer, on Thursday:

"My intention was to praise the beauty of Ansu's movement and his talent as a very young player.

"Some expressions were understood as racist insults. Nothing was further from my intention, nor the very favourable opinion of the player that I have expressed in all the match reports I have written since his debut.

"I deeply lament the misunderstanding and I ask forgiveness if anyone has felt offended."

Seventeen-year-old Fati is off to a terrific start to the 2020-21 campaign after making his Blaugrana debut in August 2019. He's scored four goals in five appearances to open the term, including a tally in Barcelona's rout of Ferencvaros.

"Ansu is an exceptional guy who deserves respect like all human beings," teammate Antoine Griezmann wrote on Twitter, per Sky Sports. "No to racism and no to ignorance."

In April 2019, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin told reporters he was "ashamed" by the amount of racism within all levels of European football:

"Today I'm ashamed. I'm ashamed to be here with you. I'm simply ashamed that today in 2019 we have to organize a conference that promotes diversity.

"It's 2019. How can that happen? I'm ashamed that here in Europe not a weekend goes by without a discriminatory act taking place in a football stadium, amateur level or professional level.

"I'm ashamed to see extremist movements use our sport as a vehicle for their messages of hate and intolerance. A stadium must not and must never be a forum in which people are allowed to express their sickening fascist nostalgia. I'm ashamed to see lone individuals utter racist, sexist and homophobic insults without realizing the devastating effect and symbolic significance of their words."

Fati and Barcelona are back in action Saturday for a La Liga rivalry clash with Real Madrid. Their next Champions League fixture is Oct. 28 against Juventus.