Fans attack ex-Arsenal defender in Brazil

AFP
Guilherme (R) of Corinthians vies for the ball with Andre Santos (L) of Flamengo during their Brazilian championship football match at Pacaembu stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil on April 27, 2014
Guilherme (R) of Corinthians vies for the ball with Andre Santos (L) of Flamengo during their Brazilian championship football match at Pacaembu stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil on April 27, 2014 (AFP Photo/Nelson Almeida)

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) - Andre Santos, a defender with struggling Brazilian top flight side Flamengo, was attacked by fans following Sunday's 4-0 thrashing by Internacional in what his club called a "cowardly" act.

The loss left the once proud Rio side bottom of the table after a run of just one win in 11 games.

The fans lay in wait for Santos, who played for English Premier League side Arsenal from 2011-13, after the game in Porto Alegre and kicked and punched him, he revealed, as the team prepared to fly back to Rio.

"I was kicked and punched. I was on my own save for a security guard. The police arrived straight away and helped me a lot but I received a lot of blows before I could get into the coach," he told Globo.

The club issued a statement condemning the incident, which came five months after fans invaded training facilities of Sao Paulo side Corinthians and attacked players after a loss to Santos.

Rio side Botafogo also saw angry fans descend on a recent training session.

"There have been various such cases in our country but we have to take them seriously. Yesterday it happened to me -- but it could happen to anybody," said Santos.