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Zaha reveals the extent of racial abuse in football

In Summary

• Zaha says he is called a monkey nearly in every game.

• The Crystal Palace star’s revelations come after a season in which racial abuse was prevalent in England’s top-flight, at international level and in the EFL, with players being targeted in stadiums and on social media.

Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha in action with Bournemouth's Nathaniel Clyne
Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha in action with Bournemouth's Nathaniel Clyne
Image: /REUTERS

Wilfried Zaha has opened up on the disgusting racial abuse he suffers during most Premier League matches, claiming he is regularly called ‘a monkey or n*****’.

The Crystal Palace star’s revelations come after a season in which racial abuse was prevalent in England’s top-flight, at international level and in the EFL, with players being targeted in stadiums and on social media.

Zaha took to Twitter in April to share a message he received from a Newcastle fan calling him a ‘diving monkey’. The former Manchester United winger also revealed that he has received death threats online.

And in a new interview with The Jackal, Zaha has now explained how he hears racist abuse almost every time he pulls on his boots at the weekend.

“Nearly every game I’m called a monkey or a n***** or a whatever,” Zaha told the magazine. “Imagine if I really got down about that?

Raheem Sterling has become a prominent speaker about the issue of racism in football over the last 12 months, but Zaha has no interest in following his lead.

“Yeah,​ Wilf Zaha’s going to make a speech about racism. [I’m] so over it,” he added. I don’t know if we’re animals to them or whatever. Why is this okay? Why are you saying these things right next to your five-year-old kid? And then, when you leave, what, you’re back to being a normal dad, working a normal job? People mask this stuff.”

The Ivory Coast winger revealed he has been speaking to a life coach after questioning his love for the game.

“For a couple of weeks, I’ve been speaking to a kind of life coach,” he said. “With football, you get to a point where you start to think, ‘Do I still love it, or am I doing it as a job?

Zaha appears set to dominate headlines this summer with his future at Crystal Palace up in the air. He told Sportsmail in April that he wants a move to a Champions League club.