Amsterdam, January 1: Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana claims another club opted against signing him in 2017 because they felt their supporters would not accept a black goalkeeper.
Onana, 23, was born in Cameroon and has spent 12 years in Europe, first coming through Barcelona's academy before switching to Ajax in 2015.
There he has remained ever since, becoming a regular starter for the Amsterdam giants in the 2016-17 season, helping the club to the Europa League final.
It was after that match – a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United – when it looked as though Onana might move on.
But he now says an interested party passed on him because they felt their fans would not accept having a black player in goal.
Speaking to Dutch newspaper Het Parool, Onana said: "Racism is there, I have to deal with it in almost every away game, but I'm not talking about it.
Thank you 2019 for everything you have given us. Nobody said it would be easy and that’s why we have had to battle with all of our strength to achieve our objectives. This year showed us that you always have to believe and that anything is possible. pic.twitter.com/Jvtt5GZXTv— Andre Onana (@AndreyOnana) December 31, 2019
"I'm proud to be black. If you find me a monkey, fine. I see no difference between white and black and I make no difference. If you do, that's your problem.
"I've been in Europe for 12 years. I live and work with people from all countries of the world, in every imaginable colour.
"Before each match, it sounds in the stadiums: 'No to racism', but racism is not only in football, it is everywhere.
"Racism was here long before I was born, and it will not suddenly disappear tomorrow. One day it will stop. It only needs time and you cannot force it.
"Along the way I noticed: it's not easy for a black keeper to reach a high level. In my first year at Ajax we reached the final of the Europa League.
"After that final, my manager spoke with an interested club, but that club nevertheless decided not to transfer, because a black goalkeeper would be difficult for their supporters.
"So, it wasn't because they didn't think I was good enough. I consider that as a compliment."