England star Bukayo Saka says he “knew instantly the kind of hate” he would receive after missing his penalty in Sunday’s Euro 2020 shootout defeat to Italy.
The Arsenal forward was one of three players to miss his spot-kick and, along with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, has subsequently been targeted by racist abuse on social media.
The 19-year-old switched off social media to spend time with family and reflect on the tournament instead of being caught up in all the backlash since. Saka has vowed that he won’t let the experience or negativity break him but has called on social media companies to do more in response to the racist abuse sent to him and his peers.
In a statement on social media, Saka wrote: “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.
“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.”
Summing up his tournament and the final, Saka added: “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.