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‘I did not say anything racist’

Francesco Acerbi insists he ‘certainly did not say anything racist’ to Juan Jesus during Inter’s match against Napoli, but accepts he had to be excluded from the Italy squad.The pair clashed during Sunday’s 1-1 Serie A draw at San Siro and Juan Jesus was caught on camera telling the referee that Acerbi “called me a n***o.”He later said that Acerbi had “apologised” and he was ready to put the matter behind him, but coach Luciano Spalletti sent the Inter man home ahead of friendlies in America....CONTINUE.THE.FULL.READING OF THE ARTICLE>>>

Acerbi arrived back at the train station in Milan this evening and was greeted by a gaggle of reporters asking questions.

“Guys, I did not say anything racist, this is for certain,” replied Acerbi when asked about the situation.

There are reports he could face up to a 10-match Serie A ban, while Juan Jesus wrote on Instagram that he merely defended his ‘rights’ on the pitch.

“I haven’t spoken to Juan Jesus. I can certainly say that nothing racist came out of my mouth.”

So then why did the Napoli defender say that he had apologised?

“I think he might’ve misunderstood. Why should I apologise? All I know is that I did not say any racist phrases. I have been playing football for 20 years and I know what I say.

“Many things happen on the pitch, that is normal, but when the referee blows his whistle, you shake hands and it all goes back to how it was before.

“I hope the battle against racism continues in every part of the world.”

So what did Italy coach Spalletti tell Acerbi?

“That is between us. I am sad to leave, but it’s right that it went this way.”

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Tiara Clephin

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