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Smalling and Lukaku blast 'Black Friday' jibe


Criticism: Chris Smalling
Criticism: Chris Smalling

By George Sessions

Chris Smalling and Romelu Lukaku have criticised Corriere dello Sport's "Black Friday" headline, with the on-loan Roma defender labelling it "wrong and highly insensitive".

The former Manchester United team-mates were pictured either side of the headline on yesterday's front page of the Italian daily, ahead of this evening's clash between Roma and Lukaku's Inter Milan.

In the article the newspaper appeared to attempt to highlight the league's racism problem.

"In the faces of those idiots who boo, tomorrow everyone must instead go 'oooh' like children. It will be a Black Friday, but this is not an end-of-season sale," it said.

It went on to describe Lukaku and Smalling as "two giants of colour".

The cover has attracted widespread criticism and the players had their say on Twitter last night.

Smalling wrote: "It is important that I acknowledge that what occurred this morning was wrong and highly insensitive.

"I hope the editors involved in running this headline take responsibility and understand the power they possess through words, and the impact those words can have."

Lukaku called it the "dumbest of headlines", adding: "You guys keep fuelling the negativity and the racisme (sic) issue (...) instead of talking about the beautiful game that's going to be played at San Siro between two great clubs.

"Education is key (...) you guys of corriere dello sport should do a better job at that."

Roma later released a joint statement with AC Milan, Inter's co-tenants at San Siro, announcing that the publication has been banned from both clubs' training facilities for the rest of 2019.

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