Brazil-Scotland friendly marred by Neymar banana incident
Published 19:06 27/03/11 By MirrorFootball
Brazil star Neymar was tonight at the centre of a racism row after a banana was thrown on to the field during his country's 2-0 victory over Scotland at the Emirates Stadium.
The incident took place as the 19-year-old was preparing to take his successful 77th-minute penalty in this afternoon's match, his second goal of the game.
Speaking afterwards, Neymar accused some spectators of racially abusing him, a claim also made by team-mate Lucas Leiva, who television pictures reportedly showed retrieving the banana.
Neymar said: "I feel great and scored two but what happened with the banana is sad.
"I don't want to make a big deal of it.
"I was running down the touchline in the second half and saw it but I didn't see where it came from."
Santos forward Neymar, who has been strongly linked with a move to Chelsea, said earlier on Brazilian television channel Sportv: "They were jeering me a lot, even when I was about to kick the penalty.
"The entire stadium was jeering. This atmosphere of racism is totally sad.
"We leave our country to play here and something like this happens.
"It's sad. I'd rather not even talk about it, to keep the subject from escalating."
Liverpool midfielder Lucas said: "There is no more space for racism in the world.
"They say it's the first world here in Europe, but it's where it happens the most. That has to change.
"Everybody is equal today. It's a matter of respect."
Today's match was played at a neutral venue and it is unclear whether the banana was thrown by a supporter of either side or a neutral.
It was the third high-profile incident of alleged racism towards a black player in the past eight days.
It was also the second involving a Brazilian and a banana after World Cup-winning left-back Roberto Carlos was subjected to similar abuse before Monday's Russian Premier League between his Anzhi Makhachkala side and Zenit St Petersburg.
That came two days after Port Vale defender Exodus Geohaghon claimed he had been racially abused by his own club's fans as he left the field at the end of last Saturday's npower League Two defeat at Accrington Stanley.
Brazil manager Mano Menezes and Scotland boss Craig Levein both denied any knowledge of today's incident.
Menezes said: "If it happened, that would be lamentable but it has not been confirmed yet."
Scottish Football Association president George Peat, who was also unaware of the incident, condemned any such action "without a doubt".
He added: "That's a sad state if that's true. I certainly didn't hear anything at all about that.
"That's an extremely unusual incident, that, if it happened."
Tartan Army spokesman Hamish Husband strongly denied the jeering of Neymar was racially motivated.
He said: "The reason Neymar was booed was because we believed he was feigning injury.
"Racism has no place in the Tartan Army, and if it did, it would be stamped out immediately, because we are self-policing.
"Any suggestion of racism from the Tartan Army today, as far as I am concerned, is absolute tosh.
"We accept that Brazil played us off the park, and we applauded them for that."
The throwing of bananas at black players marred English football throughout the 1970s and 80s.
Along with racist chanting, it has mostly been eradicated at high-profile matches but still happens occasionally - most notably in eastern Europe.