Luis Suárez joins anti-racism calls after Dani Alves banana incident
The Barcelona defender Dani Alves has sparked a social media campaign against racism in football as support flooded in from fellow professionals for his decision to eat a banana thrown at him by an opposition fan.
Luis Suárez, Neymar, Hulk, Mario Balotelli and Sergio Agüero were among those who posted pictures of themselves taking bites out of bananas in tribute to Alves' actions in his side's La Liga match at Villarreal on Sunday.
The Fifa president Joseph Blatter has branded the abuse directed at Alves an "outrage" and promised zero tolerance towards discrimination at the World Cup, while Villarreal took swift action by identifying the culprit and handing him a lifetime stadium ban.
Alves' response to the banana being thrown on to the pitch in front of him as he prepared to take a corner was to nonchalantly pick it up, peel it and take a bite before continuing with the game. The 30-yearold, who has been the victim of racist abuse before during his time in La Liga, said: "You need to take these situations with a dose of humour."
Players across Europe paid homage on Twitter and Instagram, including Suárez, who served an eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra.
Alves's Barça and Brazil team-mate Neymar led the way after posting a picture on Instagram of himself holding a banana, while writing "We are all monkeys". Balotelli, Milan's former Manchester City striker, posted a picture of himself in a similar pose.
Suárez posted a picture on Twitter of himself and Liverpool team-mate Philippe Coutinho taking bites out of bananas, along with the words: "#SayNoToRacism #WeAreAllMonkeys."
Barça gave their player their "complete support and solidarity" and thanked Villarreal for their "immediate condemnation" of the incident. Villarreal later revealed they had, with the help of fans, found out who the culprit was, had withdrawn his season ticket and banned him from the El Madrigal stadium for life.