A Colombia national soccer team player was recently confronted by a group of racists and homophobic assailants while on a trip to France. Colombian football team striker James Rodriguez was met by more than a dozen men who tried to attack him on a Paris street.
“This group came with four or five scooters full of soccer fans waving red banners with Béisbol (Colombia) in large letters. The goal was to attack James Rodriguez,” Jörg Scheifele, a journalist who was with Rodriguez at the time, said on German television. “Some of the men looked like they were right-wing or neo-Nazis.”
The incident occurred about two weeks ago in the historic French city of Orleans, a so-called “slum” that is home to Frenchmen in Algeria who have lived there for decades. European countries have long been targets of right-wing fan groups, who have frequently attacked refugees from Arab nations. Rodriguez, who was born in Barcelona, Spain, to Colombians, had stopped by the city as part of a European promotional tour.
However, Scheifele says Rodriguez was chased by the suspects on scooters and that an older man yelling in German at the attackers even tried to intervene. Rodriguez, who plays for French club FC Real Madrid, escaped in a flash.
After the incident, Rodriguez told French media outlets that he wasn’t bothered by the attack but would continue to take soccer tours to other countries.
“I can’t let such an attack change me,” he said. “I’m playing, I’m living my dream and enjoying myself every day.”
He then sent out a message on Instagram, saying that he feels privileged to be able to travel around the world thanks to the love he receives from fans everywhere.
“Sometimes I don’t get the fan base I think I should have, but I want to thank you for being such a great example for me,” he wrote. “You have taught me the importance of living one’s dream and leaving the country that opened my eyes.”
Read the full story at The Independent.
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