England and Manchester United forward, Marcus Rashford revealed after Wednesday night’s loss in the Europa League final against Villarreal that he was racially violated at least 70 times on social media but says “no one, or no one comment, is going to make me feel any different.”
A game that largely underwhelmed in terms of goal mouth action saw Manchester United succumb to Villarreal, following a marathon penalty shout-out involving all 11 players.
It’s not the first time the England international has been subjected to racial slurs online. Back in January, in a separate incident, the 22-year old revealed he had been targeted following a goalless draw against Arsenal in the Premier League, describing it as “humanity and social media at its worst.”
“I’m a black man and I live every day proud that I am,” he wrote on Twitter at the time.
“No-one, or no one comment, is going to make me feel any different. So sorry if you were looking for a strong reaction, you’re just simply not going to get it here.”
Rashford was awarded an MBE in recognition of his services for vulnerable children in the United Kingdom during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020/21 Europa League final in pictures
Under the lights in Gdansk
Spain international Gerard Moreno broke the deadlock for Villarreal in the 29th minute, before the in-form Edinson Cavani responded with for Manchester United in the 56th minute to take his Europa League tally to five goals in six appearances.
United then tried to seal the game with a winning goal, with Rashford coming closest following a golden opportunity presented to him by Bruno Fernandes’ cross into the area late on, only for him to miscue his effort and wide it went.
From then on, Unai Emery’s men stood firm in defence, and especially the centre back pairing of Pau Torres and the veteran Raul Albiol snuffing out everything United threw at them.
With only three shots on target across 120 minutes, this was not quite the game for any neutral fan inside the Stadion Miejski, at a pub or viewing center, or at home watching.
The game went into the dreaded penalty shootouts, and all ten outfield players converted their spot kicks to set up a nervy goalkeeper-to-goalkeeper contest.
Gerónimo Rulli kept his calm and struck a hard and precise shot into the right hand corner.
David de Gea then stepped up for his kick, only to get denied by Rulli. Scenes!
The Villarreal players, coaches, fans and everyone involved with the club went into a frantic celebration as the yellow submarines matched to the first ever trophy in the club’s 98-year history.
For United fans and their players, this was a tough one to take. The sight of some of their players receiving their runners-up medals and throwing it to the ground summed up their night in one scenario; utterly disappointing.
Looking back at their season now, by Manchester United standards, this defeat leaves a sour taste to the Red Devils faithful.
On the anniversary of club legend Sir Matt Busby’s birth, as well as the club’s famous victory in the 1999 Champions League final, where current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wrote his name in Old Trafford gold forever, this occasion of May 26 will be one to forget for the Red Devils who are now without a trophy in four straight years.
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Mubarak Mohammed Zakari He prefers to be known not as just a Sports Journalist; but as a "modern broadcaster" because of his ability to create content for visual, audio and print media. He co-hosts a football podcast with a growing audience from 17 countries across the globe.