Cagliari coach called me a monkey

Ex-Cagliari striker Fafa Picault has accused the club’s Primavera coach at the time of ‘calling me a monkey or telling me I need to go back to the jungle’.


Picault began his playing career with Cagliari, playing for the Rossoblu between 2006 and 2011, and has since forged a career in MLS.

Now, the 29-year-old – born in New York to Haitian parents – has suggested that he left Italy due to suffering sickening racist abuse in Sardinia.

“You have different forms of racism,” he said during a live Facebook broadcast.

“I’ve dealt with it differently in different locker rooms and in stadiums. When I moved to Italy I was about 16 and I moved up to the first team around 17 years old.

“I was split between what a lot of young players do where you train with the first team and go back and play reserve games with the reserve team.

“Our coach at the time with the reserve team was probably one of the worst people I’ve met.

“Daily, I had to deal with him calling me a monkey or telling me I need to go back to the jungle in Africa, black players don’t have technique, you’re just fast, go run, we brought you here to run.

“He didn’t bring me, the President brought me, but he said that’s what I was brought for.

“When we would train he would just say anything that was nasty. If I told a younger guy to do something he would say: ‘No, you have to do it because you’re black.’

“I would have monkey stickers posted in my locker at times and I was getting in fist fights maybe twice a week.

“I was managing that with AP classes back home that I was finishing online and also still have to perform on the soccer field – which was probably the easiest part.

“The easiest part was the soccer at the time.”

Cagliari fans have also gained notoriety for racially abusing Blaise Matuidi, Moise Kean and Romelu Lukaku in the last two years.

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Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster on loan at Swansea: EFL future star

I think he’s a natural goalscorer but I think you’ve got to judge him on the games he’s played so far. We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves but in the games he’s played, the steps he’s taken at international level against top opposition, he’s had no problem. He just looks very comfortable and with the composure that he shows in front of goal, he is lethal. His general build-up play maybe needs to be worked on but there’s going to be aspects of every part of his game that slightly need to be worked on. The biggest thing he’s got going for him is the fact that he’s an instinctive finisher. He doesn’t thrash at things, he’s very composed and he has a knack for heading as well. He can’t overpower 6ft2in centre-halves, he has to out-cute them. He has to get in-between areas and he does that very well.

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Goodman: He’s got this explosive burst of pace and he seems to have really good football intelligence, so his movement is very clever and, when I watch clips of him finishing, there’s such a variety. I had a real good chat to Steve Cooper about him and the work ethic, he said, is right up there as one of his best attributes and that comes down to mentality. He’s likeable, he’s got a big heart and he’s a bit of a joker, apparently. All the things that make you popular in the dressing room. He also said that he’s confident in his own ability but without being too far because when that goes too far, it turns into arrogance.

When you think about that at the end of the day, in this period of his career it’s really important that we and everybody surrounding the player don’t run ahead of themselves because you are never, ever the finished article. You are always improving. There are things that Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero can probably do better. That mentality that we’ve been led to believe he’s got will stand him in good stead because he strikes me as one of those lads that’s going to want to go into training, work hard every day and try and get better. If you can do that, the world’s your oyster.

Is Steve Cooper the perfect manager for him to develop under?

Andrews: That’s an important point. Nowadays there’s real due diligence that goes into trying to pick the right club for the individual player. I would imagine the very top teams in the Championship were chomping at the big to get him in and maybe he wouldn’t have been an automatic starter but he could’ve gone to a team vying for automatic promotion. A little bit down the league, less pressure to a degree – outside chance of play-offs but I don’t think, personally, they would have got there – but the style of play, the familiarity of a coaching team that he knows, he trusts, the feel of the dressing room. I think these are all important components of how you settle into first team life. I thought it was a very clever move by Liverpool.

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Goodman: Absolutely. Jurgen Klopp didn’t just let him go to any old club, he looked at where he’d get the best education and – very importantly – where he would get regular first-team football. There were lots and lots of Championship clubs in so there were choices for Klopp and Brewster but the fact they had that relationship from the England days, Swansea City’s style of play that they adopt, I think certainly helped them decide that Swansea was going to be a very good education ground for him. I think that familiarity just allowed him to hit the ground running. It didn’t take him any time whatsoever to settle in. He knew the coaches, he knew Cooper’s methods and he’s got off to a flying start because of that.”

Do you think he’s ready to step up into first team contention at Liverpool?

Andrews: I think it depends on Jurgen Klopp’s belief in him and how much game time he’s going to get. If he’s going to get enough minutes, he should stay. It’s as simple as that, for me. One thing I would throw into that equation is that front three that Liverpool play. Roberto Firmino is not a natural centre forward; if he wanted to go with a natural-type centre forward then this lad fits the bill very well. I’m led to believe they do have a lot of belief in him, that he can go onto bigger and better things, but I just think it comes down to that. Can they guarantee him enough experience? They don’t want him stagnating. He had glimpses in the Carabao Cup, played well and was getting experience through that but he needs to play football.

This little stint that he’s had at Swansea is going to be priceless. Going to a fresh environment, a different dressing room, hearing different voices and having to play for three points on a Saturday afternoon, which isn’t the case in U23s football. I think it very much comes down to that. Enough game time at Liverpool next season then he stays and becomes part of it. I’m talking 20 appearances as a rough gauge. If it’s going to be less than that then I’d get him away to get 40-50 games under his belt at Championship level, keep him at Swansea for another year.

I look at the periphery players of that front three and the options that they have. The likes of Divock Origi – I know he’s scored hugely important goals for Liverpool – and Xherdan Shaqiri don’t quite fit into it, for me, and Adam Lallana will probably move on when his contract runs out. I genuinely think there’s a space in there for him, and with the way he’s going, Jurgen Klopp is showing that he will introduce young players, Trent Alexander-Arnold being a prime example. This year, with the Carabao Cup, and the way it’s been enforced that they’ve had a few opportunities to play in that competition, he’ll have seen certain things from players that he likes and he’ll have earmarked for next season to shape the squad in a different way. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brewster is part of that squad.

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