Real Madrid winger Royston Drenthe, currently on loan at Everton, has made the surprising claim that Lionel Messi called him "negro" in a derogatory manner on multiple occasions in the past. Perhaps prompted by seeing Liverpool's Luis Suarez get hit with an eight-match ban and £40,000 fine for using the same word against Manchester United Patrice Evra earlier this season, Drenthe has now made his accusations to the press some time after the incidents allegedly occurred.
"We played against each other a lot, and we always had problems. You know what really bothers me? That tone with which he always called me 'negro, negro'." [...]
"I understand that it is very common in South America, but we cannot stand it. Mahamadou Diarra, my team-mate at Real, would become furious when Gabriel Heinze and Gonzalo Higuain initially called him 'negro'. But they soon stopped.
"When I played against Barcelona with Hercules [last season], I had the same problems with Messi again. Before the match, he gave me a hand and said, 'Hola negro'. He didn't shake my hand again after the match. I don't think he'll invite me to his birthday party."
I guess Drenthe will have to go to Legoland all by himself then.
This isn't the first time a Barcelona player has been accused of using racial slurs against a Real Madrid player. Sergio Busquets was accused of calling Real Madrid defender Marcelo a "monkey" last year, but nothing came of it.
Like Evra, Drenthe's past disciplinary issues will likely be used as ammunition to question and dismiss his claims. Combine that with the fact that he's made these accusations year(s) after they allegedly occurred (seemingly with no evidence or witnesses) and against Lionel Messi of all people -- a beloved cherub who is considered by many to be incapable of wrongdoing or malice -- and it seems very unlikely that Messi will face the same punishment as Suarez.