Previewing Inter vs Roma’s Serie A match on Friday night, the Italian publication used the headline ‘Black Friday’ using pictures of Lukaku and Smalling, who were team-mates at Manchester United.
Lukaku joined Inter in the summer for £72million, while Smalling left Old Trafford for Rome on loan for the remainder of the season.
The headline has attracted a lot of criticism with both Inter Milan and Roma coming out in support of their players in condemning it.
But Lukaku and Smalling have released statements themselves, with Lukaku calling it ‘the dumbest of headlines.’
Lukaku said: “Instead of focusing on a battle between two teams…
“Corriere dello Sport comes with the most dumbest of headlines I have ever seen in my career.
“You guys keep fuelling the negativity and the racisme (sic) issue instead of talking about the beautiful game that’s going to be played at San Siro between two great clubs.
“Education is key. You guys of Corriere dello Sport should do a better job at that…
“Thanks to all the fans and other journalists to highlights for the support and let’s all look forward to tomorrow’s game.”
Meanwhile, Smalling called on the powers that be at Corriere dello Sport to take responsibility for the headline.
He said: “Whilst I would have liked to spend the day focusing on the big game tomorrow, it is important that I acknowledge that what occurred this morning was wrong and highly insensitive.
“I hope the editors involved in running this headline take responsibility and understand the power they possess through words, and impact those words can have.
“A big shout out to AS Roma for the support!
“Now let the battle commence Rom, daje Roma!”
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