Dutch winger Royston Drenthe has accused Barcelona ace Lionel Messi of racially abusing him during his spells at Real Madrid and Hercules from 2007-2011.
Drenthe claims that the Argentine, is widely considered an ideal footballer and even a role model for kids, called him ‘negro’ on more than one occasion.
Earlier this season, Manchester United defender Patrice Evra made similar complaints against Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, leading to the Uruguyan being banned for eight matches and fined £40,000 after being found guilty.
Drenthe, who is still officially on the books of Real Madrid, locked horns with Messi a number of times during his time in Spain. Drenthe joined Real from Holland’s Feyenoord in 2007.
The 25-year-old failed to establish himself at the Spanish champions and has found himself out on loan for the past two seasons — at Hercules (Spain) in 2010-11 and Everton (England) in 2011-12.
“We played against each other a lot, and we always had problems. You know what really bothers me? That tone with which he (Messi) always called me ‘negro, negro’,” Drenthe stated in an interview with Dutch magazine Helden.
Drenthe says he realises the use of the term is quite common in South America, but he finds it hard to deal with. “I understand that it is very common in South America, but we cannot stand it. Mahamadou Diarra, my teammate at Real, would become furious when Gabriel Heinze and Gonzalo Higuain initially called him ‘negro’. But they soon stopped.”
Drenthe’s loan spell at Everton has effectively ended and reports suggest he is eyeing a return to Feyenoord.