A bad-tempered clash in the Italian capital ended with an astonishing diatribe from the Lazio defender, who suggested his opponent used to peddle clothing in the street. Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan has defended team-mate Antonio Rudiger from comments deemed to be racist made by Lazio left-back Senad Lulic. He left an Instagram post at 9:30 UK time on Sunday saying "someone has to learn these three words" with an image from UEFA's 'no to racism' campaign. Alessandro Florenzi liked Nainggolan's post and it's unlikely he'll be the last Roma player to react in the aftermath of Sunday's Rome derby. Lazio's Lulic has sparked outrage in Italy with remarks he made about Roma defender Rudiger following Sunday's derby clash.
Luciano Spalletti's side claimed a 2-0 victory at the Stadio Olimpico thanks to second-half goals from Kevin Strootman and Nainggolan. United throw away three points. Tempers flared in a typically feisty meeting of the capital clubs, with six players ending up with yellow cards and unused substitute Danilo Cataldi earning a straight red for his part in a fracas that took place in the dugout after Strootman's goal. But Lulic's post-match comments about what he considered to be taunts from Rudiger have prompted a backlash, amid accusations of racism.
He told Mediaset Premium: "Rudiger was provoking us even before the game. Two years ago, he was selling socks and belts in Stuttgart. Now he acts like he's some phenomenon. "It's not his fault, really, but the fault of those who are around him. They haven't taught him good manners." When asked to evaluate his remark and possibly apologise, Lulic added: "I said what I think. "Apologise to Rudiger? It doesn't matter, even white people sell socks." Lazio were quick to apologise for Lulic's comments, however, admitting that the Bosnia international had gone "over the line".
"The club is pained by these comments and the way they were interpreted," said Lazio director of communications Arturo Diaconale. "I apologise on behalf of the club, these are statements made in the heat of the moment by a player who just lost the derby. "It went over the line. The controversy started with previous comments from the Roma player, but we all need common sense and to not blow this up."