Papakouli Diop has claimed that he was the victim of racial abuse by a section of Atletico Madrid supporters during Levante’s 2-0 home win.
Originally, many had thought that Diop was taunting the Atletico supporters with his dancing, however video footage taken by television cameras shows supporters aiming monkey gestures at the Senegalese midfielder. He claimed he tried to take the heat out of the moment by dancing.
"I was going to take a corner and some of the Atletico fans started making monkey chants," Diop told reporters. "To defuse the situation I started dancing but I didn't insult anyone.
"I have nothing against the Atletico fans because it was only a section who chanted.
"It's a lack of respect you get at all stadiums. It's a provocation. I don't know if you can call it racism but these monkey chants have to stop.”
This is the second instance of racism to blight Spanish football in as many weeks. A banana was thrown at Dani Alves by a fan during Barcelona’s match at Villarreal.
Alves, in response, picked up the banana and ate it, sparking a social media movement, with fellow player repeating his actions in a show of support and solidarity.
The incident overshadowed what was a very fine performance by Levante. They put Atletico Madrid to the sword and came away with a 2-0 win.
An own goal by Filipe Luis and a David Barral strike leaves Madrid’s title hopes in the balance, as Real Madrid have the opportunity close the gap. There was further controversy, as Diego Costa appeared to headbutt Sissoko, who in retaliation lashed out at the Spain forward.
Should Real defeat Valencia, they can move within 3 points of their rivals, with a game in hand. Atletico will still have the upper hand however, thanks to their superior head to head record.
They also missed the chance to go six points clear of Barcelona, who dropped points against Getafe on Saturday after a late Lafita header saw them draw 2-2 at home.
Simeone claimed pre-match that his side were focused on nothing by La Liga. But one cannot help but feel that some player may have had a eye on Lisbon and their date Champions league clash with neighbours Real.
The Argentinean manager believes the defeat, their first since February, can be beneficial for his side:
This defeat is the best thing to happen to us because it makes us live with high intensity and excitement in these three weeks"
"It's the ideal time for men, for players. We expect three fantastic weeks.We expect three finals and we have to focus on the first one, which is Malaga on Sunday,” he added.
"Ahead is three weeks of excitement, pure football. Now the league is much more fun."
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