Bukayo Saka has shared an emotional message after suffering racist abuse following his missed penalty in England’s Euro 2020 defeat to Italy on Sunday.
The 19-year-old Arsenal star missed England’s decisive spot-kick in their shoot-out loss to Italy, with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho also off-target.
Breaking his silence after the trio received a torrent of vile messages following the defeat and a mural of Rashford in Manchester was defaced, Saka wrote: “I’ve stayed away from social media for a few days to spend time with my family and reflect on the last few weeks.
— Bukayo Saka (@BukayoSaka87) July 15, 2021
“This message won’t do it justice how grateful I am for all the love that I’ve 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.
We’re proud of you @BukayoSaka87
⚽ for your spark, energy and drive on the pitch
💪🏾 for your character, leadership and determination
❤️ for being an inspiration
We will always stand with you pic.twitter.com/R27y7USOaT
— Islington Council (@IslingtonBC) July 15, 2021
“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.
“To the social media platforms Instagram, Twitter and 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.
You haven’t let anyone down – you stepped up and showed your mettle in so many different ways. You’re an inspiration to everyone mate.
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) July 15, 2021
“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. Love always wins.”