BERLIN, Germany, Feb 17 – Dutch legend Ruud Gullit said Monday that Moussa Marega’s Porto team-mates should have done more to protect him after the Mali striker walked off in protest after receiving racist abuse in a Portuguese league game.
On Sunday, the 28-year-old scored a 60th-minute winner for Porto against his ex-club Vitoria Guimaeres which led to a torrent of monkey chants.
In the 71st minute, France-born Marega signalled he was walking off to his bench in protest, even though his teammates, Porto coach Sergio Conceicao and some Vitoria players tried to make him stay on the pitch.
“I blame the other players. They should protect him and make a stand,” said Gullit, speaking at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin, indicating they should have accompanied him off the field.
“Also the opposition should say ‘let’s go off’.
“It shouldn’t only be the responsibility of the player affected.
“That’s what disappoints me the most.
“Provocations are part of football, but racist abuse is something different,” added the Netherlands’ former AC Milan and Chelsea midfielder star.
“If there are monkey sounds or bananas are being thrown, that’s over the limit.”
As he walked off on Sunday, an angry and upset Marega gave a thumbs-down signal with both gloved hands to the home Vitoria Guimaeres fans.
He had already been given a yellow card for his goal celebration.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger disagreed with Gullitt that walking off is the best solution to solve racism in football.
The Frenchman fears racist insults from the terraces could “become a tool to disrupt” games by some fans.
“Of course you are against it (racism), because it is a form of violence, but I think it could be an easy tool to stop the game each time,” added Wenger at the media event in Berlin.
“We have to identify who does it and punish them severely, ban them from going to games. That is the first step for me.”
The Malian football federation meanwhile condemned the racists abuse and gave its “total backing” to the player in a statement.