The Italian championship match between Udinese and AC Milan was interrupted on Saturday January 20 due to racist insults targeting the goalkeeper of AC Milan and the French team, Mike Maignan. While he had to play a six-meter throw, Mike Maignan, visibly shocked and angry, headed towards the sidelines in the 34th minute of play and was then followed by his teammates. AC Milan.

While the 28-year-old goalkeeper, born in Guyana to a Guadeloupean father and a Haitian mother, explained to them that Udinese supporters, installed in the stands behind his goal, were making monkey cries at him, the players Milanese remained at the edge of the field for several minutes. They then returned to the locker room where, according to images from the DAZN platform, Maignan, beside himself, was comforted by teammates, like the Portuguese Rafael Leao, and members of the AC management Milan.

“I didn’t want to play anymore, I told everyone when I left the field, but we are a family, I couldn’t abandon my teammates,” he later explained on the microphone of the DAZN platform. “I was angry, not disappointed, because it’s not the first time I’ve experienced this. My teammates, the staff, everyone told me to stay strong in my head and give the right answer on the pitch,” he continued.

Support from Kylian Mbappé

The match was interrupted by the referee in the 38th minute, then resumed after a five-minute interruption. Mike Maignan had already alerted the referee of the match, Fabio Maresca, in the 25th minute of play. Despite messages broadcast in the stadium, the racist insults continued, until the match was interrupted after the goalkeeper’s strong gesture bruises.

On his return to the field, while his team led 1-0 since the 31st minute of play, Mike Maignan, trained at Paris-Saint-Germain and spent with Lille (2015-2021) before joining AC Milan, was booed every time he touched the ball. He conceded a first goal in the 41st minute on a long shot from Lazar Samardzic, then a second after the break by Florian Thauvin (60th). The meeting ultimately ended in victory for the Lombard club (3-2).

On X, the AC Milan club supported its player: “There is absolutely no place for racism in our game: we are appalled. We’re with you, Mike. » “Seeing a boy as respectful and as decent as Mike be treated like that, that particularly displeases me, it’s not something you should see in a football match,” lamented his coach, Stefano Pioli.

Mike Maignan also received the support of many players, French and foreign, including his captain in the French team, Kylian Mbappé. “You are very far from being alone Mike Maignan. We are all with you. Still the same problems and still NO solution. Enough is enough !!!!!!!!!!!! NO TO RACISM,” the PSG star wrote on X.

Several Italian clubs sanctioned this season

Since his arrival in Italy, Mike Maignan has already been the victim of racism, insulted in September 2021 by a Juventus Turin supporter. Italian football still cannot rid itself of the scourge of racism, with each season being punctuated by incidents of a racist or anti-Semitic nature. This season, several clubs have been sanctioned for racist insults and chants from their supporters, but the sanctions are considered far too weak to have a lasting effect.

Fiorentina was sanctioned in November 2023 with a suspended match behind closed doors after racist chants were sung by ultras against three Juventus players, Dusan Vlahovic, Moise Kean and Weston McKennie, before and after the defeat at home against Juve (0-1).

For its part, Lazio Rome will play its next home match in front of several closed stands at the Stadio Olimpico, as punishment following the monkey cries targeting Roma’s Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku during the European Cup derby. ‘Italy.