Bellingham ‘used to’ racist abuse in Spain

In Sports
April 17, 2024



MANCHESTER:

Jude Bellingham said he and his Real Madrid teammates have become accustomed to dealing with racist abuse at away grounds in Spain, but the England international does not believe the authorities will do enough to quell the problem.

A racist gesture was made towards France’s Aurelien Tchouameni after he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win at Real Mallorca on Saturday.

Brazilian star Vinicius Junior has been a repeated target of racial abuse and Bellingham said he and his teammates were “used to” have to deal with “horrible” treatment.

“I think in the games where we go away in La Liga especially, you almost get so used to it,” said Bellingham at a pre-match press conference ahead of Madrid’s Champions League quarter-final, second leg away to Manchester City.

“I think it’s a horrible way for a player to have to prepare for a game knowing that they’re probably going to get racially abused. It’s disgusting. It shouldn’t happen. The people in power need to do more.”

Mallorca publicly condemned the gesture and said they are working with police to identify the culprit.

Bellingham said he had not even been aware of the incident, racist abuse is so frequent.

“It’s definitely a call out for the people who are in charge to take control,” he added.

“I doubt that will happen and it’s going to be something that I imagine we will still have to just deal with going into games.”

Bellingham is back in his homeland as Madrid seek to exact revenge on Wednesday for their Champions League semi-final thrashing by holders City last season.

The tie is finely poised after a thrilling 3-3 draw in the first leg last week.

Pep Guardiola’s men won 4-0 at the Etihad when the sides met 11 months ago on their way to winning the Champions League for the first time.

Bellingham shrugged off the suggestion that the 14-time European champions are big underdogs to progress.

“I think everyone has spoken a lot about them, you know, they’re the treble winners, and rightly so. They’re an amazing team,” said the 20-year-old.

“I know that we are Real Madrid, we’re a pretty good team ourselves, we’ve got brilliant players. Internally we trust in ourselves and the ability in the changing room.”

Bellingham turned down the advances of City to join Madrid last year and enjoyed a dream start to his first season in Spain, scoring 17 times in his first 20 appearances.

However, he has struck just three times in his last 13 games for his club, while injury and suspension have also curbed his momentum.

“I think it’s definitely affected my rhythm,” he said of an ankle injury suffered in February.

“The one thing I had at the start of the season was I was playing every game consistently and felt like I was very clear what I was doing.

“The last couple of months, my roles changed slightly and you know, there’s been little things that I’ve had to kind of tweak and it means that maybe I’m doing a bit more work for the team, which I absolutely don’t mind doing, but maybe I lose that effectiveness on the pitch.”

Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti said City’s threat was not causing him sleepless nights with the Italian keen to move on from last season’s humbling.

Two years ago Ancelotti got the better of Guardiola as Real edged a thrilling semi-final 6-5 on aggregate.

“Nothing keeps me awake at night, apart from maybe eating too much,” joked the Italian.

“We only have to look to the future. We need to compete, fight and have confidence,.

“The game is level. Anything can happen and we have the confidence we can create problems.”

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