Son admits to receiving racist abuse during Tottenham career

Son Heung-min has spoken out about the issue of racism in football, admitting he too has been targeted since moving to Tottenham.

Published : Apr 08, 2019 20:19 IST

Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min says he has been the victim of racism while playing in England and thinks it is best not to react to the abusers.

Son's Spurs team-mate Danny Rose stated last week that he "can't wait to see the back" of football due to a lack of action from authorities to tackle to problem of racist abuse. Rose was speaking after he was allegedly subjected to taunts during England's Euro 2020 qualifying win over Montenegro in March.

READ | Rose can't wait to retire due to racism

His England team-mate Raheem Sterling, who was abused by a Chelsea fan in Manchester City's Premier League defeat at Stamford Bridge in November, has spoken out against the problem on a number of occasions this season, most recently after Juventus' Moise Kean was allegedly targeted by Cagliari fans last week.

Son, who has played in England since joining Spurs from Bayer Leverkusen in 2015, admits he has also been subjected to abuse but that the issue it is not regularly discussed among the playing squad.

"We're talking about a few times," he told a news conference on Monday ahead of Spurs' Champions League quarter-final first leg with City. "I've had racism as well since playing in England. I think the best reaction is don't react to anything.

"We're playing football as a human. It doesn't matter which country you come from. We play one sport. We should protect the players who get racism and fight together. I think that's most important.

"We're not talking about these things [in the dressing room] because if you ask the players, maybe they don't want to talk about it. If Danny comes to us, then of course we try to help. As a player, you should protect yourself and help your team-mates. We should fight all together. We play another team as well, but we're the same footballers, same humans, and we should fight together for these things."

WATCH | Football's racist shame: What next?

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino thinks the problem extends far beyond football.

"I think it's a very delicate situation," he said. "It's not easy. It's very personal how you feel, your emotion, how you manage your emotion. We're trying to help him and everyone who can feel that emotion of being abused, and of course it's a thing we are fighting all together to try to stop.

"It happened the same when I was a player. When I was in Argentina, France, Spain, it's not a new problem. It's true it now happens less because we are all fighting but 30 years ago it happened in Argentina with team-mates, in Spain, in France, it's not only that Danny's suffered.

"It happens with people on the street. You and me, we don't know what happened yesterday. That's why we need to stop it all together. It's not only in football, it's in different areas. That is what is more painful - the people who cannot go and say, 'I feel bad because people abuse me because I'm different'.

"Danny and Raheem have the capacity, because they are famous people, to denounce it. How many people are there outside who can say nothing, can only go home and cry? I told you in the past, it is a thing I hate, and I will do everything to try to stop it."

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