In the first half of Cadiz‘s game against Valencia, with the ball 50 yards away, Mouctar Diakhaby ran towards Juan Cala.
The pair had clashed while going for a challenge moments earlier, and the Cadiz player appeared to say something to the Frenchman that didn’t sit well. His reaction suggested that it was something serious.
When the initial commotion had settled a little, Gabriel Paulista could be seen saying: “You can’t say negro de mierda,” suggesting that Cala had said “shitty black” towards Diakhaby.
Diakhaby was shown a yellow card for his part in the shoving and exchanging of words that both teams were involved in, and Valencia’s players left the pitch with their teammate.
Little of the details are known, but the Valencia defender says that Cala called him a “shitty black” after their coming together, which prompted Los Che to leave the pitch. Diakhaby explained the situation to the referee, and then the idea of playing on made little sense.
In an empty stadium, the pitch was vacated for 20 minutes. Valencia’s players didn’t want to return to the pitch, but they received notification from the match official that they would be punished should they not return to the pitch. Both Jose Luis Gaya and Javi Gracia spoke about the threat of being punished with “three points or something more”.
The coach told Diakhaby, and the defender asked his team to return to the pitch to play the match. At this point, the game was already of secondary importance to what had happened between Cala and Diakhaby. The former returned to play what was left of the first half, but he didn’t reappear after half time.
“No human being deserves this,” said Gabriel Paulista after the game. While Gaya added that he too heard what was said “Diakhaby is devastated. He said he wasn’t in the right state of mind to keep playing. It was a very ugly insult which I won’t repeat. We haven’t been able to speak with Cala because he was the last player to leave the pitch. I’m certain that he said something. It was a very strange game.”.
Valencia left the pitch
The pictures of Valencia walking off the pitch embracing their teammate has already gone around the world.
Cadiz didn’t go as far as committing to defending their player. They instead condemned all forms of racism and added that those who are found guilty of racist insults “must pay, whether they’re on our team or not”, though they did add that they “don’t doubt the honesty of members of our team,” and “the club can’t get into assessing in-game incidents between players”.