06/24/2021 at 1:04 PM CEST
Georginio Wijnaldum, captain of the Netherlands national team, appeared at a press conference this Thursday to assess the trajectory of his team, his good performance throughout the first phase and to underline his call to UEFA to stop racism in stadiums.
“UEFA should be there to protect the players on the field, it should make the decision for the players. UEFA should have a leading role and they should be the ones to say: ‘if this happens, the match ‘”, Wijnaldum said at a press conference with the Dutch concentration.
Although he admitted that he has never suffered an episode of racism, he acknowledged having reflected on what he would do if it happens when he is on the field in Budapest, next Saturday against the Czech Republic for the round of 16.
French strikers Kylian Mbappé, whose father is Cameroonian, and Karim Benzema, of Algerian ancestry, had to hear monkey screeches from the Budapest crowd in the second qualifying match against Hungary.
“I have never experienced that feeling and I hope I never feel it (…). I dont know how i would react. At first I thought that I would not leave the field, but now I think differently, “added Wijnaldum.
“But I think everyone agrees that it is UEFA that has to protect the players,” he stressed.
The player also referred to the rainbow bracelet that he will wear in Budapest in support of LGTBI rights. He explained that it was a proposal from the Dutch Federation that he felt comfortable with.
“Everyone should be free to be who they are,” said the footballer. “We are happy to do what we can. At the same time it’s a shame that it is soWijnaldum added.
Regarding his sports performance, Wijnaldum assured that his great virtue “is not scoring goals, but creating chances”, and in that sense he thanked his teammates for their work. “We have a team with very varied profiles in which everyone contributes. I can easily reach the rival area and score some goals, a very different role than I had at Liverpool, but it is all thanks to my teammates.”