England teenager Bukayo Saka has thanked fans for their support following his penalty miss in the Three Lions’ Euro 2020 defeat to Italy on Sunday.
Saka saw his decisive kick saved by Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in Sunday’s shootout at Wembley, following on from earlier misses from Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho.
All three players were almost immediately subject to vile racist abuse online, which has been condemned by the FA.
And on Thursday Saka broke his silence, taking to social media to post: “I have stayed away from social media for a few days to spend time with my family and reflect on the last few weeks. This message won’t do it justice how grateful I am for all the love that I have received, and I feel that I need to thank everyone who has supported me.
“It was an honour to be part of an @England squad that leads by example, they are brothers for life and I’m grateful for everything that I have learnt from every one of the players and staff who worked so hard. To help that team reach our first final in 55 years, seeing my family in the crowd, knowing what they’ve given up to help me get there, that meant everything to me.
“There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was with the result and my penalty. I really believed we would win this for you. I’m sorry that we couldn’t bring it home for you this year, but I promise you that we will give everything we’ve got to make sure this generation knows how it feels to win.
“My reaction post match said it all, I was hurting so much and I felt like I’d let you all and my England family down, but I can promise you this.. I will not let that moment or the negativity that I’ve received this week break me.
“For those who have campaigned on my behalf and sent me heartfelt letters, wished me and my family well – I’m so thankful. This is what football should be about. Passion, people of all races, genders, religions and backgrounds coming together with one shared joy of the rollercoaster of football.”
He also sent a direct message to social media platforms who have allowed the racist abuse to take place.
He added: “To the social media platforms @instagram@twitter@facebook I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that me Marcus and Jadon have received this week. I knew instantly the kind of hate that I was about to receive and that is a sad reality that your powerful platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.
“There is no place for racism or hate of any kind in football or in any area of society and to the majority of people coming together to call out the people sending these messages, by taking action and reporting these comments to the police and by driving out the hate by being kind to one another, we will win.
Saka’s club Arsenal were also quick to release a statement condemning the abuse of the teenager as well as Rashford and Sancho, saying: “Once again, we are sad to have to say we condemn the racism towards a number of black players.
“This cannot continue and the social media platforms and authorities must act to ensure this disgusting abuse to which our players are subjected on a daily basis stops now.
“We have processes in place internally at Arsenal to ensure our players are supported both emotionally and practically on this issue but sadly there is only so much we can do.
“Our message to Bukayo is: hold your head high, we are so very proud of you and we cannot wait to welcome you back home to Arsenal soon.”
Tokyo Olympics: All Nigeria’s table tennis reps knocked out
Africa’s highest-ranked player Quadri Aruna on Tuesday crashed out of the men’s singles event of the table tennis competition at the ongoing Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Aruna who reached the quarter-finals of the event at the Rio Games in 2016 could not go far this time around as he lost 2-4 in the third round.
He lost to Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium 15-13 9-11 6-11 11-7 7-11 6-11.
His exit has brought a sad end to Team Nigeria’s campaign in the sport at this Games.
His three teammates in the sport —— Funke Oshonaike, Offiong Edem, Olajide Omotayo —- have all been eliminated.
Nigeria did not qualify for the doubles events.
John Terry leaves Aston Villa, reveals next plan
Aston Villa assistant coach, John Terry, has announced his departure from the club.
Terry, in a statement via Aston Villa’s official website on Monday, also revealed his next plan.
The Chelsea legend had since been linked with vacancies at Bristol City and West Brom United.
Terry’s statement read in part, “It has been a tremendous honour and privilege to have spent these last three years at Aston Villa, but I feel now is the right time to make the extremely difficult decision to move on.
“My immediate plan is to spend some quality time with my family and, thereafter, hopefully, take up some invitations to visit clubs and managers around Europe to develop my aim and objective of becoming a manager.
“I’ll forever be indebted to the gaffer for giving me the opportunity to start my coaching career at such a wonderful club.
“Finally, I would also like to thank all the players and staff and wish them all the very best for the season ahead and say a huge thank you to the wonderful Aston Villa fans for their support.”
Solskjaer opens up on Pogba rejecting new Man United contract to join PSG
Manchester United boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has opened up on midfielder, Paul Pogba rejecting a new contract at the club in a bid to join Paris Saint-Germain.
Solskjaer also expressed confidence that Pogba will be part of his Man United squad next season.
He said this while reacting to reports that the France international has rejected a new deal at the club because he wants to join PSG.
Pogba, whose current deal with Man United will expire next summer, has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford to join PSG.
But Solskjaer has now described the report as ‘speculations’.
Asked if Pogba has rejected a contract and whether Man United will need to sell him, Solskjaer told reporters following the Red Devils’ pre-season 4-2 defeat against QPR on Saturday: “There are always speculations about Paul.
“The talks between the club and Paul’s representatives, I am not in the detail of every single one of them, so I have got nothing to say really about that.
Asked further on PSG’s interest in Pogba, Solskjaer continued: “There’s always speculation about Paul and there’s always clubs being interested.
“Of course, we have seen Paul at his best and Paul knows what we feel about it. And of course, I have enjoyed my time working with him and hopefully, we can work together. Let’s see what happens.”
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