Baggies 'target' saddened by Spanish experience

Last Updated: Fri, 21 Feb 2014 11:42

Real Betis' Nigerian midfielder Nosa Igiebor has emerged as a realistic West Brom target after complaining about racial abuse in Spain.

The 23-year-old midfielder is also facing relegation with the Primera Liga's basement club and will be forced to accept a cut in wages unless he can engineer a move away, with ex-boss Pepe Mel an obvious candidate to take him.

Igiebor was anonymous in Real Betis' Europa League match against on Thursday night and his recent performances suggest he wants away from the Seville-based club in the summer.

He apologised to Real Betis fans last year for making an offensive gesture at them after scoring the equaliser against Sevilla in a highly-charged derby that saw Pepe Mel's side fight back from 3-1 down to get a draw.

The Nigerian international recently told the BBC about that incident, saying he was shocked and saddened by the abuse he has suffered during his two seasons in Spain.

He said: "The coach [Mel] asked me to warm up, I went there with three other white guys warming up, at that time we were 3-1 down.

"There were two guys [fans] over there and they started shouting: 'Nosa, black monkey, negro - those kind of words. They started screaming at me and I was wondering what have I done, I wasn't on the field.

"You start to think, because you are black, why are they not telling these three [other] guys the same?

"I felt really bad. Emotionally I was down. If I could say to my coach 'don't put me on' I would, but I cant.

"And when I scored that goal I ran to that same spot where those two guys were standing and I did what I did at the time. I did it out of bitterness and anger at the time."

Igiebor explained that he was not aware that the problem of racial abuse still existed in the game after other high-profile players had highlighted it.

"Why should they be calling me names like black monkey and such? [Mario] Balotelli said it, all the black guys have said it. We experience these things but at that point in time you can't control it.

"I never experienced it in Norway. I went to Israel and never experienced it, so I thought OK it's the same everywhere. But when I came here and I saw these fans....if you do bad they scream and shout, but it's different with blacks, when I came here it's when I knew there is racism in football."

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