•In a video posted online by the Ghanaian forward on Monday, an unidentified man off-camera can be heard saying in Italian “there are bananas inside” as the 18-year-old unpacked the box given to him by Mourinho.
• “Because they see that I eat bananas a lot that has become a thing we laugh about sometimes — and I believe the comment was another example of that.”
The heart-warming moment AS Roma manager Jose Mourinho gifted Felix Afena-Gyan a new pair of trainers after his two goals as a substitute at Genoa in Serie A on Sunday was overshadowed by an apparent racist remark made by somebody in the room.
In a video posted online by the Ghanaian forward on Monday, an unidentified man off-camera can be heard saying in Italian “there are bananas inside” as the 18-year-old unpacked the box given to him by Mourinho.
Neither Mourinho nor Afena-Gyan, who were speaking in English, reacted to the remark which was made while the striker was unpacking his gift.
The club were not immediately available to comment but Afena-Gyan posted a message on Monday playing down the incident, saying it was a joke about him eating lots of bananas.
“I have been reading a lot of comments about the video I published earlier today of a special moment for me with the coach,” he said on Instagram.
“I want to assure you all that I was not offended by the background comment made in the video in any way — and that I truly believe there was no racist intent. Since the first day I arrived at the club I have been welcomed into the family by everyone, who have joked with me like they do all members of the family.
“Because they see that I eat bananas a lot that has become a thing we laugh about sometimes — and I believe the comment was another example of that.”
The video, which was widely shared online, came after Afena-Gyan came off the bench to score two superb goals in Roma’s 2-0 Serie A win over Genoa on Sunday.
After the match, Mourinho said that he had “promised to buy him (Afena-Gyan) a pair of shoes he likes that cost 800 euros” and the Portuguese coach kept his word.
The teenager, who arrived in Rome from his native Ghana to join the club’s Under-19 team in January, only made his senior debut last month and has yet to start a first-team match.
He was brought on for the final 15 minutes against Genoa and made a huge impact, sliding in the opener before firing home a superb long-range strike in stoppage time to send Mourinho’s side up to fifth place in the standings.
“Mourinho is teaching me a lot and I am learning a lot from him. He is someone who has achieved a lot during his career and he is a great person. I am glad to be working with him,” Afena-Gyan told the Roma website.