Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has revealed the numerous recent cases of racist abuse in football have been “painful” and left him “disappointed”.
There have been several incidents of racism in recent months, including a number of Chelsea supporters being filmed chanting abuse towards Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah ahead of their Europa League tie in Prague on Thursday night.
Monkey chants were aimed at England’s black players in their Euro 2020 qualifying win in Montenegro last month while Aubameyang had a banana skin thrown at him by a Tottenham fan as he celebrated his goal in December’s north London derby.
There have been plenty of other examples, both at home and abroad, and Aubameyang – speaking after Arsenal secured a 2-0 win over Napoli in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final – admitted he has been dismayed by the recent issues.
“I am really disappointed about that,” he said.
“I had the same problem here against Tottenham. When you are black like me it is really painful, I think, because we are in 2019 and obviously it is not good for football in England. Hopefully we will find a way to kick it out.”
On the pitch, Arsenal took control of their tie with Napoli as an Aaron Ramsey strike and a Kalidou Koulibaly own goal set them up for the second leg in Italy next week.
It was their 15th win from the last 16 games at the Emirates Stadium after Gunners boss Unai Emery had admitted on the eve of the game that he knew his team needed to win this first leg, given the stark contrast of their away form when compared to the near-perfect run at home.
They have lost both away knockout ties in this season’s Europa League to BATE Borisov and Rennes, two teams not considered as strong as Napoli – who sit second in Serie A.
Arsenal managed to turn both of those ties around when back in north London but this time they need to defend an advantage as they look to reach the semi-finals for the second year in a row.
Aubameyang believes the trip to the San Paolo Stadium for the second leg is the perfect place to prove Arsenal are capable of winning big games on the road.
“I think we played well last night and it was important to win,” he added.
“I think we had a lot of chances to score more goals, but we didn’t concede and that is a good point, that’s really important.
“Now we will go to Napoli with a lot of confidence and we will go there to score goals.
“We know away we have some difficulties. We have to improve that. As I said before we are confident.
“We had a good result today and we have everything in our hands. We go there and will try to win the game.
“If you win there I think you send a message to everybody. It will be an important game and a good challenge for us.”
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