Ghana midfielder Michael Essien has said he feels sad about racism in football and efforts must be made to nip it in the bud.
Verona fans racially abused his Milan team-mate Sulley Muntari last Sunday resulting in the closure of parts of their stadium and a fine.
“Racism really makes me sad,” Essien told the Milan Channel. “The fact that in 2014 there are some stupid people that still behave like this really makes me sad.”
He said: “Generally speaking, those situations are awful for us but also for football. For instance, it was sad to see an empty ground during the game between CSKA Moscow and Manchester City last night.
“I think that this is the moment to act in order to change this situation. We need to stop these things that happen very often in stadiums once and for all.”
Essien was happy to have earned a “starting place back on the pitch. I play where Inzaghi asks me to play. It doesn’t matter where.”
“He is our manager and obviously he is important to us. He is doing a great job. He leaves us a lot of freedom on the pitch, he encourages us to fight in every situation and we play some good football.