Italian TV Pundit Sacked After Racist Remarks Directed at Inter’s Romelu Lukaku On Air

An Italian TV pundit has been relieved of his duties after making a racist remark towards Inter striker Romelu Lukaku on air, suggesting that ‘throwing bananas’ at the Belgian is the only way to stop him. 

The former ?Manchester United man has started well since moving to Serie A last month, scoring twice in his first three matches, and impressed again as his side made it three wins from three at the expense of Udinese on Saturday. 

Unfortunately his impressive start to life in Italy has been underpinned by some abhorrent abuse, as he found himself subject to alleged racist chanting from Cagliari supporters before the international break – something that was ?defended by Inter ultras, who said that what may have been ‘perceived’ as racism was simply a ‘mark of respect.’ 

That argument has come universally under fire, with a widespread show of support towards Lukaku coming to light from across the world of football. Racial abuse remains a serious issue, particularly in Italy, however, and Italian TV pundit Luciano Passirani has been removed from TV following his insensitive comments towards the 27-year-old after the Udinese clash. 

Speaking on ?TopCalcio24, Passirani said: “If you go one-on-one with him he will murder you. The only way to come up against him is maybe give him 10 bananas to eat…”

Programme director Fabio Ravenazzi did attempt to explain the comments, but takes a no-tolerance stance towards them regardless of their ‘complimentary’ intent


“Mr Passirani is 80 years old and to compliment ?Lukaku he used a metaphor that turned out to be racist,” he said, as quoted by the ?BBC. “I think it was a terrible lack of momentary lucidity.

“I cannot tolerate any kind of errors, even if momentary.”

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Antonio Conte Insists Inter Must ‘Keep Their Feet on the Ground’ After Positive Start to the Season

?Internazionale manager Antonio Conte is happy about I Nerazzuri’s positive start to the season but insists his side must not be distracted by talks of the club being Juventus’ main challenger for the Serie A title. 

Conte couldn’t have imagined a better start to his reign at the San Siro, with Inter winning all of three of their opening games – conceding just once in the process. 

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Speaking about ?Inter’s excellent form, Conte said, according to ?Goal, that “We are growing and I’m happy about how we’re maturing. But I also know that now you talk about us so you can beat us when something goes wrong.

“Today we talk about Inter as ?Juventus’ main rivals. I know the game and it is what it is. But we have to keep our feet on the ground. Let others talk, we must shut up and work.”

Inter fans could be forgiven for their optimism however, after spending almost a decade in the wilderness. I Nerazzuri have only recently started qualifying for the ?Champions League again, mainly thanks to Italy being given four spots in the competition. 

Romelu Lukaku

There is a sense that Inter are a club on the up. They appointed one of most talented managers working in Conte, while also splashing the cash on ?Romelu Lukaku. They also made a series of smart acquisitions in the loan market, with Stefano Sensi, Nicolo Barella and ?Alexis Sanchez all joining the club. 

Sensi, in particular, has been impressive for the Nerazzurri, scoring two goals in his first three appearances for the club. Lukaku is also well on his way to justifying his €80m price tag. The Belgian is already on two goals for the season while his overall performances have been quality as well. 

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Inter face a tough week, playing Slavia Prague in their first Champions League fixture of the season on Tuesday, before facing ?Milan in the Derby della Madonnina on Saturday.

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Inter vs Slavia Prague Preview: Where to Watch, Buy Tickets, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

?Inter welcome Czech champions Slavia Prague to San Siro in the opening group fixture of their 2019/20 Champions League campaign.

The ?Nerazzurri will be eager to pick up all three points after finding themselves drawn in a group with Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund, and go into the game on the back of three wins from their opening three Serie A fixtures.

Antonio Conte

Slavia have made an equally impressive start to the season, unbeaten in their opening nine fixtures – picking up seven wins and two draws along the way. Heading into the game on top of their domestic league, they will be optimistic of maintaining this momentum in Milan.

Here’s 90min’s preview of the showdown.


Where to Watch

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?When is Kick Off? ?Tuesday 17 September
?What Time is Kick Off? ?17:55 (BST)
?Where is it Played? ?San Siro
?TV Channel/Live Stream? BT Sport 1?
Referee? ?Ruddy Buquet

Where to Buy Tickets

?Tickets are available via both club websites, with availability in the home and away ends. However, if you are planning on buying tickets in the home end you will be required to register with the club.


Team News

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Perhaps a sign that the 2019/20 season is still young, but both teams go into the game with a clean bill of health and no notable absentees.

Romelu Lukaku has started his Inter career in impressive fashion, looking calm and composed alongside Lautaro Martinez. Former Manchester United teammate Alexis Sanchez may have to wait for his first European start, with Diego Godin, Stefan de Vrij and Milan Skriniar operating in central defence.


Potential Lineups

?Inter Milan Handanovic; Godin, de Vrij, Skriniar; Candreva, Brozovic, Sensi, Barella, Asamoah; Lukaku, Martinez?
?Slavia Praha ?Kolar; Hovorka, Coufal, Kudela, Boril; Traore, Masopust, Soucek, Stanciu, Olayinka; Skoda

Head to Head Record

?Given that this is only the second time Slavia have reached the Champions League group stage, it’s no surprise that this is the first competitive meeting between the two teams. 

It’s been 12 years since their only appearance in the competition, so they’ll no doubt be looking to grasp their opportunity with both hands and put in an impressive showing in Milan.


Recent Form

Inter have started the season in impressive fashion, scoring six and conceding just a solitary goal en-route to three successive wins in Serie A.

They are, however, yet to face any top class opposition, but momentum could be key to Conte’s side enjoying a successful campaign.

The former Chelsea boss has already made his mark on the side, deploying his trademark three at the back in each fixture. Lukaku and Martinez have been among the goals and might fancy adding to their tally on Tuesday night, as they aim to build an understanding capable of toppling Juventus at the summit of Serie A.

Slavia are no pushovers and will be buoyed by their unbeaten start, as well as last season’s Europa League run to the quarter-final. They ran Chelsea close across two legs, the second of which ended 4-3 on the night as they crashed out 5-3 on aggregate.

Here’s a look at the two sides’ last five results:

?Inter Slavia Prague
Inter 1-0 Udinese? (14/9) ?Slavia Prague 3-0 Slovacko (14/9)
?Cagliari 1-2 Inter (1/9) Slavia Prague 5-3 Chrudim (5/9)?
?Inter 4-0 Lecce (26/8) ?SFC Opava 1-1 Slavia Prague (1/9)
?Inter 2-1 Empoli (26/5) Slavia Prague 1-0 CFR Cluj (28/8)?
?Napoli 4-1 Inter (19/5) CFR Cluj 0-1 Slavia Prague (20/8)?

Prediction

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For Inter to have a realistic chance of qualifying for the knockout stages, they need to pick up six points from their double header against Slavia. A good start is imperative as they then head to Camp Nou before facing Dortmund home and away in their following three ?Champions League fixtures.

They should have the quality to do so, and will hope to banish the memories of last season’s late slip-up against PSV Eindhoven – which cost them dearly.

Prediction: Inter 2-0 Slavia Prague

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Analysing How Successful 10 Former Premier League Players Will Be After Moving to Serie A

This summer’s transfer window saw ?a flurry of players make the move from England to Italy, as Serie A welcomed a whole host of new and exciting faces to their shores. This well-trodden path has proven successful for many, the likes of Edin Dzeko and Wojciech Szcz?sny excelling in their new surroundings. 

For others, it has proved less fruitful. Yes Nemanja Vidic, I’m talking about you. 

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The 2019/20 Serie A campaign welcomes 13 new additions from the English top-flight, some destined for greatness, and others destined for a hasty return to their parent clubs in the not-so-distant future. 

We’ve decided to rank ?the top ten new arrivals on how successful (or not) we think they’ll be for their new sides. 


??10. Stefano Okaka – Watford > Udinese (Undisclosed)

Okaka is a hard-working, powerful striker who provides a chaotic, physical presence ?whenever he plays. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t score a lot of goals. That’s kind of a problem, especially when its your primary job. 

Stefano Okaka

Okaka certainly didn’t set the Premier League alight whilst at ?Watford, and the possibility of the Italian forward taking Serie A by storm is slim-to-none. 

It’s a no from me, Stefano. 


9. Matteo Darmian – Man Utd > Parma (€1.5m)

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?The first of four Manchester United players to appear in this prestigious list, Matteo Darmian is the worst signing between him and his ex-teammates. Congrats Matteo! 

The 29-year-old arrived in Manchester in 2015 with high hopes of nailing down a regular full-back spot at Old Trafford, but his performances were often far from convincing. 

Matteo Darmian

After four years Darmian has finally returned to Italy and joined Parma, hoping to breathe life into his stuttering career. However, 60 league appearances in four years suggests the former Torino man will need a serious adjustment period to get back up to speed, and I Crociati are already well-equipped at the back.

It might be another season of struggle for Darmian. 


8. Danilo – Man City > Juventus (Swap Deal)?

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?It’s hard to judge this move fairly, knowing an exciting and talented full-back in Joao Cancelo has gone to ?Manchester City as part of the deal. It seems a peculiar decision by I Bianconeri to let Cancelo leave, but Danilo is an adequate replacement for the Portuguese starlet. 

Danilo

Over the season, there’s no doubt that the Brazilian defender will do a stellar job at the back for Maurizio Sarri’s side, but against a higher quality of opposition, particularly in the Champions League, the former Citizen will be found wanting. 

Not ?Juve’s best piece of business. 


7. Chris Smalling – Man Utd > Roma (Loan)

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Chris Smalling is in at number seven, and not number ten. I know what you’re thinking. I’ve absolutely ?lost the plot. I can confirm I am still sane, for the time being. The fact is, Chris Smalling is not a completely terrible defender. 

He has his moments of comical stupidity, but there are worse centre-backs out there, even at? Man Utd (Phil Jones, raising my coffee mug to you, pal). 

Chris Smalling

Roma desperately required a defender to add some experience and competition to their limited options, and Smalling fits the bill nicely. Roma boss Paulo Fonseca likes his backline to press and win the ball high up the pitch, and the England international is at his best when defending aggressively on the front foot. 

His Serie A career won’t be without its errors, but he may avoid his own comedy reel in the red and yellow of Roma. 


6. Davide Zappacosta – Chelsea > Roma (Loan)?

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A lovely bit of business, this. Davide Zappacosta struggled to anchor down a starting role during his time at ?Chelsea, and suffered without a string of consecutive matches to find his best form. 

Roma are crying out for a proper full-back who can bomb up and down the touchline, whilst also having excellent defensive ability and awareness (sorry Alessandro Florenzi, you’re not the one for me). 

Domenico Criscito,Davide Zappacosta

Zappacosta will slot straight into I Giallorossi’s backline and provide some much-needed defensive stability, whilst also whipping in some dangerous crosses for the forwards to put away. 

Time for Zappa to show why he Costa fortune back in 2017. 


5. Pedro Obiang – West Ham > Sassuolo (Undisclosed)

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?Sassuolo are a team on the up, and with Roberto De Zerbi at the helm, they possess an exciting young manager with creative ideas who can propel his side up the table. I Neroverdi lost their talismanic midfielder Stefano Sensi to Inter this summer, but Obiang was brought in from ?West Ham to fill the Italian youngster’s boots. 

Pedro Obiang

Obiang is more defensively-minded than his predecessor, but he will provide a powerful shield for his backline, whilst releasing the likes of Manuel Locatelli to express themselves in the opponents’ final third. 

Although he may not be the flashiest of signings, he’ll certainly be an effective purchase for Sassuolo this season. 


4. Fernando Llorente – Tottenham > Napoli (Free)

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?Who doesn’t love Fernando Llorente? Maybe some Man City fans I guess. The Spaniard proved to be an excellent battering ram for ?Tottenham last season, coming on late in the game to disrupt defences and to be a general pain in the backside. 

Dries Mertens,Fernando Llorente

Eventually, Spurs’ Champions League run came to a heartbreaking end, but Llorente leaves the Tottenham Hotspur stadium as a hero. He’ll probably do the exact same thing at ?Napoli, too. 

Losing a game with 15 minutes to go against a team defending deep in their own penalty area? Bring on the big man, and let chaos ensue. 

Form is temporary, the ability to smash a centre-back to the floor with a flying limb is permanent. 


3. Alexis Sanchez – Man Utd > Inter (Loan)

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?Everything about this move screams ‘Sanchez reborn’. Antonio Conte has taken a punt with his transfers this summer, and ?Alexis Sanchez is without doubt the biggest risk of them all. The Chilean forward has suffered a wretched spell at Man Utd, and he’s looked terribly off the pace for some time. 

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His miserable 18 month period in Solskjaer’s side appears to be over, with critics suggesting he’s simply not got it in him anymore. For me, that’s not the case. 

The 30-year-old has plenty of miles left in those legs, and returning to a league he once tore apart can only help to recapture that scintillating form of old. 

It may take some time for Sanchez to get back up to speed, but a move to Inter was the perfect catalyst to kickstart the struggling frontman’s flat-lining career. 


2. Romelu Lukaku – Man Utd > Inter (€65m)

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That’s right, Lukaku is in at number two. Man Utd fans celebrated his departure, laughing at his awful touch, his clumsy nature and the fact he’d appeared to have gained a few pounds. But they won’t be laughing for much longer. 

?Lukaku is a perfect fit for Serie A, and particularly for Conte’s Inter. The Italian boss has long desired to partner up with the big Belgian, and now it’s their chance to wreak havoc in the Italian top-flight together. 

Romelu Lukaku

One thing is for sure, Lukaku knows where the goal is. He’s a natural-born finisher who fell on hard times in Manchester, which appears to be a running theme for most stars who end up under the Old Trafford lights. 

The 26-year-old would take great pleasure in proving everyone in England wrong, especially Solskjaer. And I think he’ll do just that. 


1. Henrikh Mkhitaryan – Arsenal > Roma (Loan)

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A shock in at number one! ?Arsenal fans may have been glad to see the back of ?Henrikh Mkhitaryan after he failed to live up to the hype at the Emirates stadium, but Roma have definitely snatched a gem of a player. 

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The Gunners’ squad is extremely top-heavy, littered with stars of a much similar pedigree to that of Mkhi. The Armenian forward struggled to make the desired impact during his time in the Premier League, but he’s undoubtedly got bags of talent and is just waiting for the right home to express himself to his devastating best. 

I Giallorossi are playing a new brand of attacking, dynamic football under Fonseca, and Mkhitaryan can shine in a team that plays for him and gives him the right service. 

Three words: Watch this space. 

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Inter 1-0 Udinese: Report, Ratings & Reaction as I Nerazzurri Hold Out for Tense Win at San Siro

Inter continued their winning start to the new Serie A campaign under Antonio Conte, beating Udinese 1-0 on Saturday evening in a tight and cagey affair.

Udinese forward Rodrigo De Paul received a first-half red card, when he needlessly slapped Inter winger Antonio Candreva across the face, leaving the referee no choice but to dismiss the Argentine star. 

Nerazzurri midfielder Stefano Sensi punished the away side soon after with a superb header, darting into the box and latching onto a Diego Godin cross. 

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Udinese struggled to create many clear-cut opportunities, Kevin Lasagna firing a rare chance wide of goal when he shrugged Godin off the ball. Conte’s side were comfortable throughout and will be disappointed not to have added to their tally in the second half. 


Inter 

Key Talking Point 

The San Siro was treated to their first glimpse of ?Alexis Sanchez in a blue and black shirt against Udinese, coming on as a 78th minute substitute. 

The Chilean forward arrived on loan from ?Manchester United, and after a difficult spell at the Premier League club, the footballing world was curious about how he will perform in a new environment. 


The former Udinese man looked lively upon his arrival, and desperate to make a contribution on his Inter debut. Sanchez certainly has a lot to prove after his wretched spell in Manchester, and he’ll be keen to show what he’s capable of during his second spell in Italy. 


 Player Ratings 

Starting XI: ?Handanovic (7); Godín (7), De Vrij (7), Skriniar (8); Candreva (6), Barella (7), Brozovic (7), Sensi (9), Asamoah (8); Lukaku (7), Politano (8).

Substitutes: Gagliardini (7), Martinez (6) Sanchez (6).


STAR MAN – Since his summer arrival from Sassuolo, Sensi has been an absolute revelation in the Inter midfield. His performances have earned him a place in Roberto Mancini’s Italy side, and he continues to go from strength to strength. 

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Sensi’s game has improved significantly under Conte, and he is becoming a perfect box-to-box midfielder, adding goals to his already impressive game. The 24-year-old controlled the match from the midfield, and gave Udinese little chance of sparking a comeback at the San Siro. 


Udinese

Key Talking Point 

Not much competition for this section tonight. Udinese were under pressure, but coping nicely until De Paul’s moment of madness midway through the first half. The Argentine star let all of his teammates and supporters down with a needless slap across Candreva’s face. 

A clear rush of blood to the head cost his side tonight, but Candreva’s overreaction was equally as blood-boiling. His extravagant collapse to the floor and cry in pain contributed to De Paul’s departure, but the Udinese forward can blame no one but himself. 


Player Ratings

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Starting XI: Musso (7); Opaku (7), Rodrigo (6), De Maio (7); Larsen (6), Jajalo (7), Fofana (8), Walace (7), Sema (6); Lasagna (7), De Paul (3).

Substitutes: Barak (6), Mandragora (6), Pussetto (5).


STAR MAN – Seko Fofana was an absolute powerhouse in the heart of the Udinese midfield, and the Ivory Coast international can consider himself very unfortunate to be on the losing side on Saturday evening. 

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The Udinese man chased down every ball and broke up so many Inter attacks, as I Nerazzurri tried to put the match to bed. Fofana covered the ground which De Paul’s dismissal left, and he provided a calm head in possession for I Friulani. 


Looking Ahead 

Inter begin their Champions League adventure on Tuesday evening when they host Slavia Prague, before taking on rivals AC Milan in the highly anticipated ‘Derby di Milano’ on Saturday evening. 

Udinese will be keen to get back to winning ways when they entertain newly-promoted side Brescia on Saturday afternoon. 


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