Chelsea star Antonio Rudiger opens up on racist abuse after Frank Lampard sacking

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Antonio Rudiger has revealed that he was subjected to a barrage of racist abuse after Chelsea announced the sacking of Frank Lampard last month. The defender’s social media account was inundated with nasty messages on an ‘immense scale’ after it was reported that he had urged the club’s hierarchy to part ways with Lampard towards the end of his reign.

Rudiger’s admission marks the latest incident involving a Premier League player that has come to light, with a number of other top-flight stars receiving vile online abuse in recent weeks.

Manchester United trio Axel Tuanzebe, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have been hit with similar predicaments since the turn of the year, leading Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to describe the abuse aimed at his players as ‘unacceptable and disgusting’.

Rudiger has claimed that the racist messages directed towards him have caused ‘hurt’, stressing that he was not involved in the sacking of Lampard in any way, shape or form and urging those responsible to act like ‘human beings’.

“I have been in the club into my fourth season and I have had four different coaches, with [Thomas] Tuchel now,” Rudiger told Chelsea’s official website.

“It was never talked about when [Maurizio] Sarri left the club or when [Antonio] Conte left the club that players were involved or something like this.

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“My conscience is clear. I know who I am and I know I did not do all that nonsense that came out and for me in my head, I am very free. I am open for every new coach, as I was open also for Mr Lampard.

“I cannot control people’s emotions but people should be human beings. Me, I didn’t post anything but the racial abuse was immense.

“This makes me stronger because I know who I am, I can look in the mirror and I can smile. I know I didn’t do anything so for me this is forgotten.

“For me in life it is very important I can look in the mirror, I see myself, I know who I am. Of course, it hurts but in this case I just block it out because I know I didn’t do anything.”

Rudiger’s team-mate Reece James was also subjected to abuse on social media last month, as well as West Bromwich Albion midfielder Romaine Sawyers.

Chelsea have said that they will support Rudiger and James in the face of racism and are looking to pass on any relevant information to the police.

The 27-year-old continued, suggesting that social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook fail to do enough in order to effectively combat the issue.

“To be very honest, I don’t know about all these social media things but I think people who make accounts, they make money off it,” he added.

“So me personally, I think they don’t really care because as you know, this money has power so the rest doesn’t matter, so it is hard to tell if people will make a change on that.”

Premier League chief Richard Masters reiterated the organisation’s zero-tolerance policy on racism at the end of last month, claiming that social media companies are being urged to clamp down on the problem by quickly removing offending accounts as soon as they are identified.

“I am appalled to see the racial abuse received by players this week,” Masters told the Premier League website.

“Racist behaviour of any form is unacceptable and nobody should have to deal with it. Tackling online hate is a priority for football, and I believe social media companies need to do more.

“We at the Premier League will continue to support players, managers and their families who receive discriminatory online abuse.

“Through our central reporting system we have been able to take immediate action on cases like this and we investigate every report received, with legal action taken where possible.

“We are in regular dialogue with social media companies, challenging them to do more against discriminatory abuse on their platforms.

“We want to see swifter removal of offensive messages and improved identification and banning of offenders.”

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