Manchester United’s English forward, Marcus Rashford, reacted to the wave of insults and racist remarks from English fans following the lost final against Italy on Sunday, July 11, 2021. The 23-year-old had a hard time digesting the outburst of insults on himself and his teammates who could not change their penalty. According to him, criticism is allowed, it is even necessary in a professional but it must be limited to football and the performance of a player, origin and color have nothing to do with a missed opportunity or a missed penalty. Here is his full message published on Monday, July 12.
“I don’t know where to start and I don’t even know how to put words on what I’m feeling right now. I’ve had a tough season. I think it was clear to everyone and I probably lacked confidence on this final. I always took a penalty but something didn’t go well. During the long race before I shot, I tried to save time. The result was not what I wanted. I feel like I let my teammates down, I let everyone down.
A penalty is all I was asked for for the team. I can score penalties in my sleep, so why not this one? It’s been spinning in my head over and over again since I hit the ball and there’s probably no word to describe how I feel. The final. 55 years. A penalty. History. All I can say is I’m sorry. I wish it had ended differently.
While I keep saying I’m sorry, I want to thank my teammates. This summer was one of the best gatherings I have ever known, and you all contributed to it. A brotherhood was built, which is unbreakable. Your success is my success. Your failures are mine. I grew up in a sport where I expect to read things written about me. Whether it’s the color of my skin, where I grew up, or more recently, how I spend my time off the field. I can accept criticism of my performances, my penalty was not good enough, it should have come back, but I will never apologize for what I am and where I come from.
I have never been more proud than carrying the Three Lions on my chest and seeing my family congratulate me among a crowd of tens of thousands. I’ve dreamed of days like this. The messages I received today were overwhelmingly positive and seeing the response to Withington brought me to the brink of tears. The communities that have always surrounded me with their arms continue to support me. I’m Marcus Rashford, 23, a black man from Withington and Wythenshawe, South Manchester. If I don’t have anything else, I have this. For all the nice messages, thank you. I will come back stronger. We will come back stronger”.