Sarri on racism in Italy: There is only one race – the human race

The Juventus coach offered a simple but strong message when asked about an issue that continues to plague Italian football

Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri has declared that there is only one race as he hit out against recent acts of racism in Serie A.

Sunday night’s league clash between Verona and Brescia was overshadowed by racist abuse aimed at Mario Balotelli, who reacted angrily to his treatment and threatened to leave the match before scoring a stunning goal in a 2-1 loss. 

Balotelli’s treatment comes in the wake of numerous incidents of racism plaguing football across Europe this season with Inter forward Romelu Lukaku also subject to it earlier in the season. 

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For Juve boss Sarri, the issue of racism is a societal one but something he simply can’t understand as he called on football to take a stand against it. 

“Unfortunately I smile when you speak about racism in football,” Sarri said. “That’s because those who are racist at the stadiums are also like this in society, one cannot think that the stadium is a world apart.

“Football has the right technology to stop these people. It’s inadmissible to speak of races in 2019. There is only one race: the human race.” 

Juventus have made a strong start to the season under Sarri, with the club currently top of Serie A and their Champions League group. 

The Old Lady face Lokomotiv Moscow in Russia on Wednesday and having only claimed a 2-1 win on home soil, Sarri is expecting an even tougher contest against a side that may look to sit deep. 

“There are no simple counter-measures against teams that make great density in front of the defense, otherwise nobody would do it anymore because it would be overwhelmed,” he said. 

“It’s not easy, unless you can quickly unlock the game. In situations like these, they can often be solved by a single person and we have many players with enormous qualities. 

“But I have seen some games played by Lokomotiv at home and they have been more aggressive and proactive. We face a team that has quality.” 

After recently questioning Gonzalo Higuain’s attitude while the duo were at Chelsea last season, Sarri continued to stress the Argentine is a new man back at Juventus. 

“He improved in making himself available to the team, before he played more for the goal, he was more selfish,” Sarri said of Higuain. 

“Now he is more involved in the play, he is perhaps less dangerous in the area, but he works a lot for the team. 

“He has more motivation, there was a change in character, last year I saw a player who suffered a lot having to say farewell to Juve. For him it was a personal defeat.”

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