Update, 19:35 CET: Frederic Kanouté and Cesc Fabregas have posted reactions on their official Twitter pages:
("I feel very badly about what happened yesterday, it was a bad example. However, there was provocation and an insult, as you already know. Please stop turning it over. Thank you.")
("Throughout my whole life I've played with people from all over the world, from every religion. I share a dressing room with a guy from Mali, I have a tatoo in Arabic, and my girlfriend is from Lebanon. There isn't any better proof that [these allegations] don't make sense. Now, to prepare for Granada, who we have next. Hugs.") Italics mine.
Original: According to various reports, the brawl that ended last night's Barcelona 0-0 Sevilla match was, in part, due to FC Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fábregas' use of a racial slur towards Sevilla forward Frederic Kanouté. We would like to remind our readership that while these reports have been confirmed all over the internet, only a few English-language sources of high journalistic calibre have reported on it.
In the 93rd minute, the Malian striker engaged in a bit of gamesmanship after Barcelona was awarded a penalty: he jumped into the area right before Leo Messi took the shot, causing the little Argentine to re-start his pre-kick routine. As he headed back to his spot outside the area, cameras caught a quick exchange with Barcelona's newly-acquired center midfielder, Cesc Fábregas. Immediately after this testy exchange, the normally cool Kanouté hurled himself at Cesc, ferociously starting the brawl that would lead to his expulsion from the match.
According to various sources, "The Sevilla players all affirm that Cesc called Kanouté a "moro de mierda" ["moro" is Spanish for "moor," but carries more negative connotations in Spanish than English], and that this was why the Malian reacted in such a violent manner." According to other sources, Cesc may have called Kanouté a "terrorist."
Whatever the provocation, we are certainly left to wonder--like we were after the 2010 World Cup final--why a normally relaxed, cool player flipped into such a state of anger and violence. I tend to agree with Sevilla coach Marcelino Gacía Toral that, at the very least, it would be very strange if Kanouté acted like that without provocation.
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