Romelu Lukaku is two games into his career with Inter Milan, and his arrival in Italy should be received as a blessing by Italian soccer fans. Here is one of the most talented young strikers in world soccer, who could very easily be playing for a top-flight club in England or Spain, instead choosing Serie A as a showcase for his talents. Yesterday, Cagliari fans met him not with appreciation, or even the kind of heckling that belied a respect for his game, but with gutter racism.
Here is a video from the stands behind the goal, taken while Lukaku was lining up a penalty kick. You can hear the racist monkey noises throughout, and they crescendo at the end:
The chants were loud enough that you could hear them on the broadcast, and the English play-by-play announcer even made note of the stare Lukaku shot at the jeering fans after converting his penalty:
This is nothing new for Cagliari fans. Last season, they spent an entire game booing and whistling and making monkey noises every time teenaged Juventus striker Moise Kean touched the ball. Kean eventually scored in that game, and stood silently in front of the Cagliari fans while they heaped more racial abuse on him. That led to a whole embarrassing saga for Italian soccer as a whole, in which plenty of people who should know better implied that Kean was equally at fault for antagonizing the fans. Kean has since made a move to the Premier League, where the racism is much more subtle and polite.
Update (9:26 a.m.): Lukaku tweeted out a statement: