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Willian has revealed he is too scared to look at his phone for fear of racial abuse. The Arsenal star’s admission came hours after Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane became the latest Premier League players targeted by social media trolls. Both were sent racist emojis on Instagram ahead of the Real Madrid game on Tuesday night.
“Does it frighten me to look at my phone? Yes, sometimes, to be honest,” Willian said. “We are human. I want to understand who these people think they are to come to speak like that to us.
“It’s really affects me when they say about my family. If they want to criticise me, it’s no problem, I always accept that. But when they come to attack your family with those words that I cannot say here, that hurts. That really affects me. It’s a big problem.
“I think we have to find a way to change the profile of social media. I think people want to have Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, they need to put their ID, passport or whatever.”
Arsenal’s Europa League quarter-final opponents on Thursday Slavia Prague will be missing Finnish midfielder Ondrej Kudela. His provisional one-match ban for allegedly racially abusing Rangers’ Glen Kamara in the previous round has been described as an “insult”.
“Of course I trust the authorities,” Willian said. “We know their team is really aggressive without the ball and they play really good football, so we have to focus on the game and leave everything else for the authorities.”