AS Roma’s Seydou Keita refused to shake Pepe’s hand in the second friendly for Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup. Tempers flared as Xabi Alonso, Fabio Coentrao, Sergio Ramos and a host of AS Roma players were needed to bring the two at peace. In what was a confusing start for many over what the apparent reason could be, Keita took to his official Twitter account to give an explanation.
1. He called me a monkey during a Madrid-Barca game. 2. I didn’t shake hands. 3. He spat on me after I threw the bottle. I apologise for my attitude.
UPDATE: Later Keita spoke with RFI and provided a more detailed outlook:
[Source in French]
In Pepe’s eyes, I’m not a human. He called me a ‘macaco’ (‘monkey’ in Portugese) during my time at Barca, and then he spat at me. I said to myself: ‘This man is not worth anything’. I did not speak publicly about this because he has no value. I didn’t want to shake his hand in the friendly and I said this before to Mehdi Benatia. He went behind me and he spat at me. I had a bottle of water and I threw it at him and then all the other players came. The ‘blancos’ (Real Madrid players) wanted to hit me. It’s true that I displayed a bad image and I apologize, but it’s unacceptable that a man can spit. I’m not a saint, but I respect people. I will not argue with those who do not regard me as a human being, he has displayed unacceptable behavior. Is racism widespread in football? No, we shouldn’t generalize. I’m African and I’ve played in Europe for years. I’ve been able to deal with wonderful people. It’s just a minority.