Ivan Rakitic criticised for alleged comments condemning 'gays, black people, dwarves and the obese'
The alleged comments were made in 2012 but have reemerged this weekend
Barcelona and Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic has been criticised for comments he allegedly made in a 2012 interview which have reemerged this weekend.
In an interview with Offside Mag, a Spanish sports website, the central midfielder - who was playing for Sevilla at the time - was asked about his thoughts on the decision of Fifa to fine then-president of the Croatian Football Federation, Vlatko Markovic, for comments he made saying that "in no way could a gay man play in the national team" and that "fortunately, football is only played by healthy people".
Asked to respond, Rakitic allegedly said that while he respects gay people, he would no more want them in his life than he would a black person, a fat person or a dwarf.
"I respect homosexuals, but I do not want those people in the locker room. I would not leave a team for that, because I respect a homosexual equal to a black, a fat or a dwarf, but if possible I prefer not to have gays in my life," he allegedly said.
While homophobia is sadly not uncommon in football, Rakitic's reported choice of language when discussing gay people, as well as black people, obese people and those with a genetic condition such as dwarfism is at the very least bizarre.
The 31-year-old, whose Barcelona side were eliminated from the Champions League by Liverpool last week, is yet to comment on the remarks.