Liverpool striker Divock Origi revealed how he suffered racial abuse on the pitch as a child and how the multi-culturalism in dressing rooms these days brings him joy.
The 25-year old striker plays for one of the most diverse teams in the Premier League and feels the diversity within the Liverpool dressing room has a positive effect on everyone and the mix of cultures is “special”.
He said, “When I go to the dressing room, you see the Brazilians, you see people from Guinea, you see English people. You see everything and it comes together in one dressing room.
“Sometimes Sadio Mane comes in traditional Senegalese clothing, which I love. Then you can see Andrew Robertson, he’s very Scottish and you can see his influences.
“And we all come together and speak the language of football and that’s what makes it so beautiful.”
Opening up on his experiences growing up in Belgium he recalls being the only black player on his team and feeling “confused” when he suffered racist abuse during a match at the age of 12.
Speaking about the incident in Belgium, he said, “I was 12-ish. We had a game away and one of the parents racially abused me because I was having a good game basically and I was playing against his son.
“It was horrible. I wouldn’t cry much but then I broke down. I couldn’t play any more because it hurt me, right to the core.”
He recalls his teammates being compassionate but also states that they struggled to know how they should react to the situation: “We had a bus ride and it’s quite far, so coming back I was speaking to them about it and they would ask me questions. It was confusing.
“I felt the compassion but they didn’t really know what to do or what to say. I was just waiting to go and speak with my parents.”
Origi was speaking out as part of the Premier League primary stars campaign, which aims to stimulate classroom discussions on diversity.
The Premier League has shown support to the Black Lives Matter campaign throughout the year, with players taking the knee before every match becoming the new normal as the worldwide fight for racial equality continues.