Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has revealed his fury at receiving racial abuse from supporters during 'nearly every game' he plays in England.
The 26-year-old has grown into a devastatingly-effective player since returning to Selhurst Park from Manchester United in 2015, taking his Eagles goalscoring total to an admirable 53 in all competitions. However, he has been the subject of abusive behaviour from supporters for much of his career, being targeted both on the pitch and online.
The Ivory Coast international took to Twitter earlier in the year to highlight a racist message he had been sent following a 1-0 win for Palace over Newcastle United, the latest in a long line of distressing incidents involving the winger.
However, racial abuse remains an enormous issue in both the Premier League and abroad, with Zaha telling The Jackal magazine: "Nearly every game I’m called a monkey or a n****r or a whatever. Imagine if I really got down about that.
"I don’t know if we’re animals to them or whatever. Why is this okay? Why are you saying these things right next to your five-year-old kid? And then when you leave, what, you’re back to being a normal dad, working a normal job? People mask this stuff."
The former United starlet, who is currently taking part in the African Cup of Nations, also discussed how working with a therapist has helped him manage his frustrations, saying: "Do you know how tiring it is, being angry? It’s a waste of time. There’s so much more to be happy about.
"For a couple of weeks, I’ve been speaking to a kind of life coach. With football, you get to a point where you start to think, 'Do I still love it, or am I doing it as a job?' [I'm now] going into a game with that mentality, that hunger; I want to score, I want to score, I want to score.
"The only thing that can prevent me from reaching my goal is my mentality, or injury," he concluded, bravely refusing to yield in the face of adversity.