Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling have released statements condemning the controversial 'Black Friday’ headline on the front page of ‘Corrie dello Sport.’
On Thursday morning, the Italian newspaper ran a photo of the former Manchester United pair on the front page with the headline, 'Black Friday' as part of the preview of the game between Roma and Inter the following day.
The insensitive headline drew reactions from football fans on social media, with both Inter and Roma joining to criticise the heading while AC Milan and Roma have also banned the tabloid from their training grounds for the rest of 2019.
Following the swift reactions of their clubs, both Smalling and Lukaku have now put out a statement about the issue.
On his Twitter page, England centre-back, Chris Smalling, wrote: “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 the impact those words can have.
"A big shout out to AS Roma for the support. Now let the battle commence Rom, daje Roma.”
Following suit, Inter's big number one also condemned the headline, stating that it was the worst he has ever seen in his career.
“Instead of focusing on a battle between two teams.. corriere dello sport comes up with the most dumbest of headlines I have ever seen in my career," Lukaku wrote.
“You guys keep fuelling the negativity and the racism 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 highlight for the support and let’s all look forward to tomorrow’s game. Forza Inter.”