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Lukaku knew he would have to deal with Italy racism

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By Reuters
Lukaku knew he would have to deal with Italy racism
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Inter Milan v Hellas Verona - San Siro, Milan, Italy - November 9, 2019 Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku reacts REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo   -   Copyright  DANIELE MASCOLO(Reuters)

ST PETERSBURG (Reuters) – Inter Milan and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku said he had anticipated having to deal with racism when he moved to Italy’s Serie A at the start of the season and wants tougher action from Uefa, European football’s controlling body, to root it out.

“I knew it would happen. I was prepared because I had spoken to other footballers about it,” the striker said in a rare appearance before the media in St Petersburg on Friday, on the eve of Belgium’s Euro 2020 match against hosts Russia.

“Uefa have to act to stamp it out. You can hold up a board that says, ‘No to Racism,’ but it makes no sense if no action is taken.”

Lukaku was the target of offensive chants from the home crowd in Cagliari in September, his second match in Italy, which he condemned in a social media post.

Racism has been a long-running problem in Italian football and authorities have been criticised for not taking strong enough action.

“But I’m having a good time in Italy. The people on the street are very good to me and it’s on that, that I want to focus,” Lukaku told reporters.

Lukaku, whose father was an international for the then Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo), moved to Inter Milan in August from Manchester United for a reported transfer fee of around 80 million euros ($88 million).

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)