Arsenal star Bukayo Saka has faced some vile social media hatred after missing his penalty during the Euro 2020 final shootout against Italy. The teenager had a breakout season with the Gunners in 2020/21 and deservedly earned a call-up to play for the Three Lions at the European Championships.
As expected, Saka dazzled when given the opportunity and helped England reach the final of the tournament. Gareth Southgate's team were locked in a tense 1-1 final against Italy which was finally decided via a penalty shootout.
Saka, Rashford and Sancho missed their respective shots, causing major mayhem on social media. While fans complaining about athletes is a regular practice in any sport, a particular section took it too far by racially abusing the three young footballers.
For the likes of Rashford, it was unfortunately and alarmingly not the first time he had to face such vile hatred on social media. However, it was Saka's first direct experience of such widespread racial abuse on social media.
This experience has greatly affected the young Arsenal winger. He recently reached out on his social media platform and spoke about his disappointment at missing the fifth and decisive penalty in the shootout.
What did the Arsenal star say in his message to the fans?
Saka spoke from the heart while addressing the fans and here are a few excerpts from his Instagram post:
"I have stayed away from social media for a few days to spend time with my family and reflect on the last few weeks. This message won’t do it justice how grateful I am for all the love that I have received, and I feel that I need to thank everyone who has supported me."
The Arsenal star spoke about his disappointment in a heart-felt message to fans:
"There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was with the result and my penalty. I really believed we would win this for you. I’m sorry that we couldn’t bring it home for you this year, but I promise you that we will give everything we’ve got to make sure this generation knows how it feels to win."
Despite some fans hurling racial abuse at the Arsenal star, many came out in support of Saka as well. He thanked them and requested social media companies to help curb this ill-practice of online racial abuse.
"To the social media platforms @instagram @twitter @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."
The Arsenal winger signed off with a powerful message saying there is no place for racism in football.
"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."
Gary Lineker has come out in support of the Arsenal star
The Arsenal star's message has earned him plenty of praise from footballers and fans alike. Former England forward Gary Lineker came out with a strong message of support for Saka and urged him not to worry about the penalty miss.
Lineker added that the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo had missed plenty of penalties in the past. He indicated that the Arsenal winger has made the country proud with his performances.
Saka is one of the most talented youngsters in modern football. The Arsenal winger is on the path to making both his club and country proud every single day.