Villarreal, Spain (4E Sports) – Brazilian defender Dani Alves shrugged off a racist move by fans after he picked up a banana thrown at him, peeled it and took a bite before taking his corner in Barcelona’s 3-2 win over Villarreal Sunday at El Madrigal Stadium.
The Brazilian was taking a corner when a banana landed at his feet. Maintaining his composure, Alves picked up the banana, peeled it and took a bite and got on with the game.
“We have suffered this in Spain for some time,” Alves told reporters after te game. “You have to take it with a dose of humor.”
“We aren’t going to change things easily. If you don’t give it importance, they don’t achieve their objective,” he added.
After the match, the 30-year-old Alves posted a clip of the incident on Instagram, joking his father had always told him to eat bananas to prevent cramp.
Alves has been a regular target of racist abuse during his 12 years in Spain with both Sevilla and Barcelona.
In January 2013, he complained of racist abuse following a Copa del Rey semi-final match against Real Madrid.
Villarreal condemned the act on its official Twitter account.
“It’s a shame to see that an ignorant person is capable of doing something so terrible. It has no place in the world of sport and less so in our stadium. #NotoRacism,” the club posted.
“As sportspeople one of the values that we try to safeguard and promote is respect. Be it the opposing team, the referee, rival fans,” the team added.
Sunday’s match was Barca’s first game since the death of former coach Tito Vilanova Friday.
Barca went 2-0 down against seventh-placed Villarreal before launching a stirring fightback in the final half hour.
A Gabriel Paulista own-goal on 65 minutes gave Tata Martino’s team hope before a second own goal, this time from Mateo Mussachio, levelled the match with 12 minutes remaining.
Argentina star Lionel Messi won the match for Barca in the 83rd minute to leave the Catalan club four points behind La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid with three matches left to play.