Remembering Dani Alves’ brilliant reaction when Villarreal fans threw a banana at him

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Racism has been rife in football in 2019.

There have been numerous incidents in which players have been racially abused and it’s clear that football has a long way to go to eradicate the problem.

Last week saw both Antonio Rudiger and Son Heung-min allegedly suffer abuse in Chelsea’s 2-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur.

The campaigns are proving ineffective in stamping racism out of the game.

In England, the PFA has called for a government enquiry into the problem.

“We believe that the time has come for all governing bodies to unite collectively to end this abuse,” they wrote in a statement.

Alves racially abused in 2014

The lack of progress is alarming, with increasing calls for players to leave the pitch.

That wasn’t the move Dani Alves made when he was racially abused while playing for Barcelona in a game against Villarreal in 2014.

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Alves’ reaction was brilliant and even sparked a worldwide social media campaign.

Villarreal supporters threw a banana towards Alves as he prepared to take a corner.

He reacted by picking the banana up, peeling it and taking a bite before proceeding to take the corner.

A class reaction.

Villarreal were fined a pitiful £9,850 (€12,000) for the incident but Alves received support from the entire football world.

Neymar, Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez were among the professional footballers to post pictures of themselves taking a bite out of a banana.

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Villarreal identified the fan who threw the banana and handed him a lifetime ban.

“We have accepted the €12,000 fine," a Villarreal spokesman told Reuters, per BBC Sport.

"The federation were though pleased with the quick and positive action that the club took by identifying the fan."

It must be a priority for football to remove racism from the sport in 2020.

It can’t be left for the players to come up with their own ways to try to stop racism.

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