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Inter, Roma condemn ‘Black Friday’ Lukaku, Smalling front page play

MILAN, ITALY - JULY 29: Lega Serie A President Gaetano Micciche poses during the Serie A 2019/2020 fixture unveiling on July 29, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images for Lega Serie A)

Inter Milan and Roma have condemned Thursday’s front page of Italian newspaper Il Corriere dello Sport.

Lega Serie A President Gaetano Micciche 

The newspaper’s front page previewed Inter’s Friday night clash against Roma with a photo of both Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling above the headline “Black Friday.”

Sources have told ESPN the post was in relation to Corriere’s front page, but the club opted not to directly reference it in the tweet as not to “give it visibility.”

Roma’s English account tweeted a picture of the front page as part of their condemnation, and Fiorentina’s English Twitter account responded by writing, “No to racism, kick it out” — as well as a separate post criticising the cover.

AC Milan also condemned the cover with a tweet that read, “It is totally unacceptable to see such casual ignorance on racism. We will not stay silent on this issue.”

The newspaper released a defence of their front page in a statement titled, “The Eulogy of Difference.”

In it, they wrote: “Denying the diversity is the typical racist, macroscopic, stumbling block of the anti-racists. The mental slum of Sunday’s moralists when even Thursday is Sunday. ‘Black Friday,’ for who wants to understand it, was just a eulogy of diversity, the pride of diversity, the magnificent richness of diversity.

“If you don’t understand it, it’s because you can’t or you pretend not to.”

Asked about the headline, Roma boss Paulo Fonseca said: “I don’t think it’s a good choice of words. We need to be more aware when we talk about issues related to racism — we need to be more considerate.”

Lukaku’s agent, Federico Pastorello, criticised the front page in an interview with Sky Sports, saying, “Being Italian, I’m really ashamed to read a title like that, but I really don’t want to talk about a single episode.

“At the end of the day, the racist problem is a big problem. Unfortunately we are living in 1920. It’s really a culture problem.”

All 20 Serie A clubs signed an open letter last week, acknowledging that racism is a serious problem in Italy and requested help in order to deal with it.

Lukaku has been the subject of racist abuse in Serie A this season, with Cagliari supporters having aimed monkey chants at him when the sides met in September.

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The Belgium international joined Inter for €80 million from Manchester United while his former Old Trafford teammate Smalling moved to Roma on loan.

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