Manchester United midfielder Fred has admitted he is deeply saddened that racism still exists in football after a City fan allegedly made monkey chants towards him during Saturday’s derby at the Etihad Stadium.
Anthony Burke, 41, was arrested by Greater Manchester police on Sunday morning on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order, though he has denied it on Facebook.
Widely-shared footage appeared to show the City supporter making monkey gestures towards United’s Fred and Jesse Lingard in the second half of the game.
Speaking about the incident, Fred told The National: ‘It is unfortunate that this happened. It also happened to me in Ukraine with some friends of mine. I only saw it after the game today. It’s sad. Skin colour should not matter. But we have to raise our heads, we cannot give them attention when there is so much beauty to see.’
The Brazilian midfielder was also pelted with missiles, including cigarette lighters, when he went to take a corner in the same part of the Etihad Stadium during United’s 2-1 victory.
‘It’s something difficult,’ he added. ‘We just want to play football, to do the best for our team and our supporters. It’s the same for both teams.
‘You shouldn’t have to worry about what is happening outside the pitch but someone threw something at me and it hit me.’
City were quick to issue a statement on Saturday night saying that they would work with the police regarding the alleged racial abuse that took place.
They added that the offender, should he be identified, would be banned for life from the Etihad Stadium.
City manager Pep Guardiola said he supported the club’s actions while United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described the fan’s actions as ‘unacceptable’.
He added: ‘The fella must be ashamed of himself…he should never be let in a football ground again.’
The Football Association will also investigate allegations of the horrific racist abuse.