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'It's really painful to be black like me'

Aubameyang hopes racism can be kicked out of football after a spate of incidents

In Summary

• On Thursday evening, a group of Chelsea fans were filmed singing about devout Muslim Mohamed Salah

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Image: REUTERS

 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says he is disappointed at football’s ongoing problems with racism - and claimed they are damaging the English game.

Arsenal star Aubameyang had a banana skin thrown at him while celebrating a goal during December’s north London derby.

It preceded Raheem Sterling being allegedly racially abused at a Chelsea game, and England internationals Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi being targeted by fans in Montenegro last month.

On Thursday evening, a group of Chelsea fans were filmed singing about devout Muslim Mohamed Salah being a ‘bomber’, while an Arsenal investigation was launched after a Snapchat video emerged of a fan racially abusing Kalidou Koulibaly on the same night.

Koulibaly was referred to using the ‘n-word’ with the same word captioning the 15-second video, and Gabonese striker Aubameyang admitted the issue rearing its head hurts him.

He said: “I am really disappointed about that. I had the same problem here against Tottenham. When you are black like me it is really painful, I think, because we are in 2019 and obviously it is not good for football in England. Hopefully we will find a way to kick it out.”

The 29-year-old started on Thursday as Arsenal managed an 11th home win in a row with victory against Napoli. That form at the Emirates comes in complete contrast to their recent record on the road. They have won just one of their last eight away from home.

A visit to the Stadio Olimpico is a tough trip for any team, but Aubameyang believes is desperate there to prove a point about Arsenal’s away day jitters. Asked whether they could end their hoodoo there, he replied: ‘Of course, because if you win there I think you send a message to everybody. It will be an important game and a good challenge for us. “We know away we have some difficulties. We have to improve that. As I said before we are confident. ‘We had a good result today and we have everything in our hands. We go there and will try to win the game.”

Napoli are known for their intimidating atmosphere but Aubameyang suggested he preferred that type of venue.

He said: “We already know. That’s football. All of the players, they love to play this type of game. When it’s tough and you win games, you are really satisfied after the game. Me personally, I’m not scared.

“We will play with confidence and I am sure we will do something, because now they have to score goals so they will attack and for sure they will leave space for us. That will be great for us. “We didn’t concede (on Thursday night) and that is a good point, that’s really important. Now we will go to Napoli with a lot of confidence and we will go there to score goals.’