Barca defend Messi racism claims

Barcelona have defended Lionel Messi from claims of racism by former Real Madrid man Royston Drenthe.

The Dutch international said this week that he always had problems when he played against Messi in his time in Spain, maintaining the Argentine international called him ‘negro, negro’ in one particular game. However, Barca have moved quickly to reaffirm the integrity of their star player.

“These accusations are misplaced,” said a club spokesperson. “Messi has always shown sportsmanship and respect towards his rivals, as has been recognised on several occasions. The player has always had an exemplary attitude throughout his career.”

Drenthe is currently on loan at Everton from Real Madrid, but is expected to depart the Premier League club at the end of the season after a disappointing spell at Goodison Park despite a promising start.

Madrid boss Jose Mourinho has made it clear the 25-year-old has no future at the Santiago Bernabeu and Drenthe is hoping to secure a return to his native Holland with former club Feyenoord.

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