Italian sports daily slammed for Lukaku ‘Black Friday’ headline
ROME: Italian football clubs on Thursday slammed a renowned sports daily’s front page as “unacceptable” and “terrible” after it used “Black Friday” in a headline in reference to Romelu Lukaku and Roma defender Chris Smalling. Smalling and Lukaku, former Manchester United teammates, face off at the San Siro on Friday as Inter Milan look to maintain top spot in Serie A beating Champions League-chasing Roma, prompting the Rome-based Corriere dello Sport to publish the controversial headline. The article praised the two players for taking “strong positions against racism and are the symbols of the two clubs”, but Roma tweeted “not a single soul” would think the headline a good idea. The club’s chief strategy officer Paul Rogers told AFP the choice of headline was “terrible” although the article itself was “positive”. Racism is a recurrent problem in Italian football, with several black Serie A players having suffered racial abuse by supporters in the first months of the season. Brescia’s Mario Balotelli was the victim of racist abuse by Hellas Verona fans last month, while AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie was also targeted by Verona supporters and Lukaku was himself abused at Cagliari, also serial offenders.