Roma and AC Milan condemn 'Black Friday' front page headline

The front page of Corriere dello Sport

Retweeting a news article in which Bulgaria coach Krasimir Balakov accused England of having a bigger racism problem than his own country, Sterling commented after that match: ' Mmmmh.

Corriere dello Sport previewed the upcoming Serie A game between Inter and Roma with a front-page "Black Friday" headline between images of Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling, a choice of wording that has attracted widespread criticism. "It will be a Black Friday, but this is not an end-of-season sale", the article said.

"He's a boy who couldn't be here without being a regular and we're so happy for him because we can see the top player that he is".

Both players - former teammates at Manchester United - condemned the headline on social media while Roma said the newspaper would be banned from its training ground for the rest of the month.

"It is important that I acknowledge that what occurred this morning was wrong and highly insensitive", wrote Smalling on Twitter.

"I hope the editors involved in running this headline take responsibility and understand the power they possess through words, and the impact those words can have".

The headline was widely criticised as being racial insensitive, with Smalling and Lukaku both expressing disappointment.

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"Black Friday is the innocent title of a newspaper, ours, which for nearly a century has been defending with obstinacy and passion, simply passion, the values of sport, of football".

"If you don't understand, it is because you can't or you don't want to understand".

"You guys keep fuelling the negativity and the racism issue".

Serie A has been plagued by racist incidents this season, with Lukaku himself and Brescia forward Mario Balotelli among those to make allegations of being racially abused by supporters during games. "We are and always will be opposed to any form of discrimination". "Lynching of a newspaper that for a century has defended liberty and equality", read the headline of Friday's newspaper.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has slammed Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport's controversial "Black Friday" headline, describing it as "the worst I've ever seen".

All 20 Serie A clubs last week united to call on fans to support them in an anti-racism drive after admitting to a "serious problem". We should be very careful with the words we use.

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