Coach in trouble after racist 'banana' gesture caught on camera

A senior staff member of an Argentine club pointedly pretended to eat a banana after his team were knocked out of a continental tournament by Brazilian opponents

Racing Club goalkeeping coach Juan Carlos Gambande could be in hot water after he was photographed eating an imaginary banana in the direction of Atletico Mineiro fans following a Copa Libertadores match.

Gambande made the gesture after Racing were knocked out at the last-16 stage by the Brazilian club. He was caught on camera and his actions sparked outrage in South America. 

The Argentine clearly fashioned an invisible banana, which he slowly peeled and pretended to eat. The act was interpreted to imply that the Brazilian fans were monkeys. The photo montage above was created using images taken by photojournalist Cristiane Mattos.

The images went viral and when the squad returned to Buenos Aires on Thursday, Gambande’s arrival was met by the local press. Goal Argentina reports that he did not make any public statements, but nodded his head when asked if he regretted the gesture.

The incident came two days after the AFA made an agreement with the National Institute Against Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination (INADI) to eradicate discrimination from football.

Lucas Pratto’s 72nd-minute goal saw Atletico Mineiro win 2-1 on the night and on aggregate. Carlos was also on target for the hosts, with Lisandro Lopez scoring a penalty for the Argentine side.

The first leg – a goalless draw in Buenos Aires – was also marred by controversy after Atletico forward Robinho was hit by a lighter thrown from the stands.

Atletico will face fellow Brazilians Sao Paulo in the quarter-finals.

Ranieri's friend Bocelli to fulfil promise at King Power Stadium

One of the world’s most famous tenor will serenade the Premier League champions as they celebrate before kick-off of their weekend clash against Everton

Andrea Bocelli will perform at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon, fulfilling a promise made to manager Claudio Ranieri, who guided the Foxes to an extraordinary Premier League title success.

The Italian opera singer promised his compatriot that he would sing if Leicester won the league, and following Monday night’s confirmation at Stamford Bridge, where Tottenham could only draw 2-2 with Chelsea, the world-renowned artist announced he was more than happy to keep his promise.

Before the clash with Everton, the 57-year-old will perform ‘Nessun Dorma’ and ‘Time To Say Goodbye’, a fitting title which may not go down too well with Spurs fans, following their unsuccessful pursuit of the Premier League crown.

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Bocelli’s appearance will set the platform for a celebratory day at the home of the newly-crowned champions, where captain Wes Morgan will lift the Premier League trophy following their penultimate game of the season.

The classical tenor will add something special to Leicester’s big day, but another Italian will steal the show as Ranieri and his team celebrate one of the greatest sporting achievements of all time.

Simeone rates all-Madrid Champions League final as '50-50'

The two sides will clash at San Siro and the Argentine is delighted his men continue to upset the odds after seeing off both Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the competition

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone rates the mouth-watering Champions League final against city rivals Real Madrid as “50-50”.

Simeone’s men saw off two of the tournament favourites in Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the quarter and semi-finals, and a repeat of the 2014 showpiece was set when Real Madrid overcame Manchester City on Wednesday to book their place at San Siro.

Two years ago, an injury-time equaliser from Sergio Ramos forced extra time and Madrid went on to win 4-1 to complete La Decima, but in general it is Atletico who have enjoyed the upper hand in the derby.

In 10 competitive matches since that clash in Lisbon, Atletico have lost just once to their fierce rivals – a 1-0 Champions League reverse last April that sent Real Madrid in the semi-finals.

Atletico triumphed 1-0 the last time the sides met at Santiago Bernabeu in February, but Simeone says there will be nothing to split the teams when they meet on May 28.

“The final against Real Madrid is 50-50, we both know each other well,” Simeone told Radio La Red. “The aim is winning the final.”

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Atletico have continued to compete at the highest level despite seeing their top players cherry picked by the big spenders in European football and Simeone is delighted that his team are still upsetting the odds.

“We’re showing to the people that it’s possible. It’s about life more than football,” he added. “We’re very strong defending, but also we scored out of the Calderon [against Bayern], that is not easy.

“We’ve changed many players, but, fortunately, the new ones who’ve joined have got used very fast to the team. My team feels very identified with us, I’m very lucky to have them.”

Simeone has been in charge at Atletico since December 2011, but has spoken in the past of a desire to take charge of Inter, having represented them during his playing days.

The 46-year-old reiterated that stance and also expressed his interest at coaching another former club Lazio, as well as Argentina, after earning 106 caps for his country.

“I’d like to be coach of Inter, Lazio and Argentina,” He said. “But I’m not desperate. It’s going to happen.”