March 23, 2011
Not long after Roberto Carlos left the more violent abuse of Corinthians fans for a big money deal with Russian side Anzhi, he's already facing the racist taunts the 2018 World Cup hosts are famous for.
Before Monday's match at Zenit St. Petersburg's Petrovksy Stadium, a fan was pictured offering a half peeled banana to Roberto Carlos. Once local media published the picture after Zenit's 2-0 win, the club announced they would launch an investigation.
"In regards to a published photo of a man making an unethical act towards Anzhi captain Roberto Carlos, Zenit officially state that the club together with the police will investigate this matter," Zenit said on their website (www.fc-zenit.ru).
To his credit, the 37-year-old Brazilian legend didn't let it get to him.
"I didn't get offended," the 2002 World Cup winner who joined Anzhi from Brazilian club Corinthians last month, was quoted as saying by Russian media. "In my 37 years I've seen it all so I didn't get upset after seeing a banana."
When Lokomotiv Moscow fans gave striker Peter Odemwingie the banana treatment after he left for West Brom, the head of Russia's 2018 World Cup bid committee claimed that it wasn't a symbol of racism, but that, "In Russia 'to get a banana' means 'to fail a test somewhere'." Keep in mind that the Zenit fan who offered Roberto Carlos a banana did it before Anzhi lost, so I'm not sure how this person thought he failed a test. Maybe -- just maybe -- that's not why he did it.