Algerian footballer Nabil Bentaleb has released a statement on series of events surrounding his current situation at his German club Schalke 04 and racist comment from former German international and journalist Steffen Freund.
Bentaleb and Moroccan international Amine Harit were suspended by the club for different reasons according to a statement released by the club.
“There were some things that happened last weekend which we were not okay with. That’s why Amine has been given time to think. He has a lot of potential as a player, but hasn’t been able to bring that to the team over the last few months. We will not abandon him, but will do everything we can to get him to where he is able to use his talent to help the club. It’s now up to Amine to find him way back into the team.” Jochen Schneider, Schalke’s head of sports and communication said about Harit.
“There’s no question that he’s a great footballer. But, we have established that Schalke and Nabil Bentaleb clearly aren’t a good fit. There’s nothing in this moment that has led to this, but rather, it was part of a process. We will part ways by summer 2021 at the latest.” Schneider said about Bentaleb.
Steffen Freund, a former German international made comments that were termed racial on Sport1 TV programme “Doppelpass” about the two players, saying their lack of discipline has to do with their North African roots.
“I still know him from Spurs. He’s one of the best players then. Also. In the end, ended up at Schalke. But is of French-Algerian origin. Character … If you have a squad planner, you have to know that there is also a lack of discipline if he is not the one who is set. ” Freund said about Bentaleb.
“And then I’ll be with Harit. Of course he can’t do that with his roots either,” said Freund. Harit is a Moroccan international born in France. Both professionals are currently again suspended at Schalke.” Freund said about Harit.
In the same broadcast, Freund later tried to explain his statements. “I heard in the public media that it came across as racist. Of course, that wasn’t meant. However, origins play a role in how you grow up as a person. And what your mentality is. In Tottenham, if he didn’t like the game, he just left the field,” he said.
FC Schalke 04 commented on Freund’s statements via Twitter in German and translated to English as: “The pause for thought for #Harit and #Bentaleb has nothing to do with their roots! For us, that basically has nothing to do with the #origin.”
Bentaleb also responded to Freund’s statements on Twitter;
Freund issued an apology on Twitter, written in German but translated in English as followsr;
“Anyone who knows me and my career as a player and coach a little knows that I deeply detest any form of racism. Of course, neither skin color, belief or origin are responsible for the achievements of a player in training and on the pitch.
“Nobody is more annoyed than me that I unfortunately expressed myself in such a misleading way in the ‘double pass’. I would like to sincerely apologize for that.”
Nabil Bentaleb has now issued a statement regarding the statement on Twitter;
“A lot of things have been said or written during these last few hours regarding my situation at Schalke 04. In spite of a particular sports environment and disappointing results during this season, I would like to remind everyone that I stayed professional in all circumstances. I learned with great surprise and disappointment my exclusion from the professional group without any credible justification whatsoever. Furthermore, I endured some mean criticisms, borderline racists, from a particular press and some wannabes consultants more interested by a virtual glory than real journalism.
“Fortunately, those persons represent only themselves. I would like to thank the Algeria Head Coach, Djamel Belmadi, the Algerian federation of football, and some players and supporters for their kind words and support through all of this. Because we are always stronger when united, there will be no room for racism nor any type of discrimination.
Harit has not made any comment but only retweeted an image from former Morocco national team coach Herve Renard, which reads in English as;
“A so-called sports journalist Mr. FREUND Steffen defined that being Algerian was associated with bad behavior! I think it’s you who has a behavior problem with this kind of scandalous talk! Amine is a wonderful talented boy and proud of his origins!