Roma have expressed dismay at Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport’s front page on Thursday morning.
Previewing Inter vs Roma’s Serie A match, the Italian publication used the headline ‘Black Friday’ using pictures of former Manchester United teammates Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling.
Lukaku joined Inter in the summer for £72m, while Smalling left Old Trafford for Rome on loan for the remainder of the season.
“No one, absolutely nobody, not a single soul,” Roma’s English language account on Twitter posted, along with a picture of the front page.
Inter also posted a message of their own on the social media platform, confirming their opposition to ‘any form of discrimination’.
Furthermore, ESPN journalist Matteo Bonetti tweeted his disbelief: “Tone deaf, ignorant & with the usual racial undertones. Saying I’m shocked would be a lie at this point. Absolute embarrassment from @CorSport to come up with this title for Friday’s clash between Inter and Roma.”
Italian football’s problems with racism has been well documented this season.
Mario Balotelli received abuse from Hellas Verona fans, who made monkey noises while playing for Brescia and booted the ball into the stands in retaliation.
He was convinced to stay on the pitch by teammates, Verona players and officials before referee Maurizio Mariani initiated the anti-racism protocol.
Following the match, Verona banned one of their leading ultras, Luca Castellini, for more than 10 years for comments made about Balotelli, claiming he ‘will never be 100 per cent Italian’, though incredibly Brescia fans sided with their opponents.
Lukaku received similar treatment when he scored against Cagliari, for which the Sardinian club were not punished for.
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) ruled there was not enough evidence for any sanctions despite it being the third time Cagliari have been investigated for racist abuse in the last two years, following cases involving Moise Kean and his former Juventus teammate Blaise Matuidi – no action was taken on any of those occasions either.
In November, all 20 Serie A clubs condemned the ongoing racial abuse in an open letter to supporters.
“We have to publicly recognise that we have a serious problem with racism. It’s a problem that we have not done enough to combat over the years,” it said.
“Images of players being racially abused in Italian football have been viewed and discussed all around the world this season and that shames us all.”
Corriere dello Sport has yet to respond to criticism of its front page and tweeted a link to it at 8.30am on Thursday.