An Italian newspaper is being called out for a match preview that showed 2 black players with the headline 'Black Friday'

Getty/Soccrates Images/Andrea StaccioliRomelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling were pictured alongside Corriere dello Sport’s headline.

The newspaper Corriere dello Sport has fuelled the already high racial tensions in Italian soccer with its choice of headline to preview a match between Inter Milan and AS Roma.

The paper used the headline “Black Friday” alongside pictures of Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling ahead of this Friday’s Serie A clash.

Lukaku and Smalling played together at Manchester United from 2017 to 2019 before both moving to Italy in the summer. This weekend’s clash is the first time they will meet since leaving Old Trafford.

The article went on to describe how the pair would be the “battle inside tomorrow’s big game” and said the two had “taken strong stances against racism,” according to the BBC.

Despite the intended message, however, Corriere dello Sport’s headline choice has sparked a huge backlash from the two clubs, the Italian media, and anti-racism organisations.

Roma described the title as “terrible” and said it “totally overshadowed the anti-racist message contained within the story,” while Inter later said it was and “always will be opposed to any form of discrimination,” according to the BBC.

The anti-discrimination organisation Fare Network tweeted: “The media fuels racism every day.”

The journalist Matteo Bonetti also expressed outrage, tweeting: “Tone deaf, ignorant & with the usual racial undertones. Saying I’m shocked would be a lie at this point. Absolute embarrassment from @CorSport to come up with this title for Friday’s clash between Inter and Roma.”

Corriere dello Sport did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

Italian soccer has been marred by several incidents of racism already this season.

Lukaku was subjected to monkey chants from Cagliari supporters back in September, according to the BBC, while the Brescia striker Mario Balotelli suffered similar abuse in a game against Verona in November, prompting him to kick the ball at those responsible and threaten to leave the field.

Shortly after the Balotelli incident, an amateur club in Italy stated its intention to wear “blackface” as an anti-racism protest, which was given the green light by the vice president of the Italian Football Federation, Cosimo Sibilia.

Just last week, all 20 Serie A clubs took a pledge tackle racism,the BBC reported.

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