Francesco Acerbi, a player for Inter Milan, has withdrawn from the Italy squad following accusations of using racist language.


Inter Milan defender Francesco Acerbi has withdrawn from the Italian national squad ahead of its upcoming friendlies following allegations of racially charged language directed towards Napoli player Juan Jesus during a match on Sunday.

The incident reportedly took place during the second half of Inter Milan’s 1-1 draw with Napoli in Serie A, Italy’s top-flight league. Video footage shows Brazilian player Jesus gesturing towards someone and complaining to the referee before Acerbi was called over.

In an Instagram post on Monday, Jesus accused Acerbi of using derogatory language by calling him “Black,” although Acerbi has denied these claims. The Inter Milan defender was not penalized during the match.

Acerbi, who has represented Italy 34 times, initially joined the national team’s training camp in Rome on Monday before the squad departed for the US to face Venezuela and Ecuador. However, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) announced that Acerbi spoke to national team manager Luciano Spalletti and his teammates to explain his perspective, leading to an agreement to exclude him from the squad “in order to allow time for the situation to settle for both the national team and the player himself.”

Gianluca Mancini has been called up to replace Acerbi in Italy’s squad.

In an interview with Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport on Monday, Acerbi reiterated his denial of using racist language, stating, “I have never uttered any racist remarks. I am very calm. I have been a professional for twenty years and I stand by what I say; not a single word of that came from my mouth. It was a misunderstanding on his part. I regret having left the national team.”

However, Jesus claimed that Acerbi apologized to him on the field after using racially charged language and expressed disappointment after Acerbi denied the incident. “Acerbi told me, ‘Go away, Black, you’re just a Black.’ After I complained to the referee, he admitted his mistake and apologized to me, then adding, ‘For me, Black man, it’s an insult like any other,'” Jesus stated on Instagram.

Nwoow reached out to Acerbi’s agent for comment but did not receive an immediate response.

Inter Milan released a statement acknowledging Italy’s decision to release Acerbi and stated that they will meet with the player to clarify the details of the incident.

Additionally, Serie A, Italy’s top-flight domestic league, announced that the case has been referred to the Italian Federal Prosecutor for further investigation.


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