Barcelona defender Alves eats banana hurled by racist - video
Brazilian defender picks up the fruit and takes a bite during match against Villareal
BARCELONA defender Dani Alves has set a new benchmark on how to deal with racist fans, by picking up a banana thrown at him by a Villareal hooligan and eating it, before coolly taking a corner.
Alves, who has been a target for racist supporters throughout his 12-year career in Spain, later thanked the fan for throwing the energy-boosting fruit because "it gave me the energy to put two more crosses in for our goals".
The Brazilian, who once declared the fight against racism in Spain to be a "lost war", added: "We have suffered this in Spain for some time. You have to take it with a dose of humour. We aren't going to change things easily. If you don't give it importance, they don't achieve their objective."
Alves not only derailed the efforts of the opposing fans to unsettle him, he also helped Barcelona recover from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 and keep their faint hopes of winning La Liga alive. The full back provided two crosses from which Barca scored to bring the score to 2-2 before Lionel Messi scored an 83rd-minute winner.
On an emotional weekend for Barcelona the Catalan team also paid tribute to their former coach Tito Vilanova who died of cancer on Friday, less than a year after standing down as manager to battle the illness.
There was a minute's silence before all La Liga games at the weekend in honour of the 45-year-old.