In 2014, the fact that players still have to encounter racism while performing their job is a hugely depressing thought. But Dani Alves provided what may be the perfect response on Sunday when having a banana thrown at him by a racist fan while preparing to take a corner: he simply picked it up, peeled the skin back and took a bite before swiftly delivering the set-piece.
The event happened at Villarreal’s Estadio El Madrigal where Barcelona were looking for a win to keep their La Liga title hopes alive. And Alves was to have the last laugh, not just in eating the symbol of one of their fan’s ignorance.
Alves supplied the two crosses which led to own goals from first Gabriel Paulista and then Mateo Musacchio as Barcelona fought back from two goals down in the second half. Lionel Messi then scored a late winner to allow Barcelona to walk away from the city on the East coast of Spain with a victory that keeps them four points behind leaders Primera Division leaders Atletico Madrid. The match had particular significance for Barcelona, coming just two days after the death of their former coach Tito Vilanova, who led them to the Spanish title just last season.