Abuse in football: Sergio Ramos received death threats after Mohamed Salah foul
Hector Bellerin has been a target of homophobic abuse both online and in stadiums
Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos says he and his family received death threats after the foul which led to Liverpool star Mohamed Salah injuring his shoulder in the Champions League final.
Ramos, who captained Real to a 3-1 victory against Liverpool in May’s final, fouled Reds forward Salah in the first-half in Kiev. The Egyptian had to leave the field injured.
On Saturday night at Wembley Stadium, Ramos was booed when Spain beat England 2-1 in the Uefa Nations League.
After the match he spoke about the boos and the abuse he received after the Champions League final. Ramos said: “One tries to evade [the boos]. In the end you feel it, but I stay out of everything. It doesn’t affect my game.
“I would have liked another reception because people only remember the action of the [Champions League] final, and nobody remembers the death threats that my family and my children received.
“It is a very sensitive issue that people maybe take as a joke... and [that’s why they] whistle in a great stadium like this. My conscience is very clear. I already explained [what happened], and I do not have to give more explanations.”
Bellerin: fans are not ready for openly gay footballers
Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin has revealed to The Times that he has received homophobic abuse in football stadiums and online.
The Spaniard, who is 23, has been a target due to his choice of hairstyles and love of fashion. He says he’s grown a “thick skin” as a result of this but admits the abuse does affect him.
Bellerin said: “Most of the abuse is online, but you hear it in the stadium too. People have called me ‘lesbian’ for growing my hair.
“There are other kinds of homophobic insults. I have learned to grow a thick skin but it can affect you. Every now and again, you get a bit of self-doubt.”
Footballers are under enormous social pressures, he says. “The problem is that people have an idea of what a footballer should look like, how they should behave, what they should talk about,” he says. “You act a little differently and you become a target.
“There is pressure to conform. This is very dangerous. In life, you should be allowed to express yourself. People are happier like this.”
No current Premier League player has come out as openly gay and Bellerin believes it would be “impossible”. He added: “Some fans are not ready. When it happened in rugby with the Welsh player [Gareth Thomas], people respected the situation. The fans respected his decision.
“In football, the culture is different. It can be very personal, very nasty, particularly for players from the opposition team.”