Updated at 22.40
CHELSEA’S NIGERIA MIDFIELDER John Obi Mikel was forced to close his Twitter account on Thursday after suffering a barrage of racist abuse prompted by his costly mistake against Juventus.
Mikel removed his profile from the micro-blogging website less than 24 hours after his blunder contributed to Juventus’s late equaliser as Chelsea were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw in the opening match of their Champions League defence at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Chelsea originally insisted it was coincidental that Mikel had decided to delete the ‘Mikel12Official’ account he only set up earlier this year.
But the European champions later admitted they had informed the police after being made aware of the unacceptable nature of the abuse Mikel had endured.
“We’ve been made aware of racist tweets targeted at Mikel which are totally unacceptable, disgusting and abhorrent,” a Chelsea statement read.
“We’ve informed the police and support taking the strongest possible action.”
Mikel gave the ball away with a careless pass 10 minutes from the final whistle and Juventus took advantage as Claudio Marchisio played in Fabio Quagliarella for the equaliser.
The 25-year-old apologised immediately afterwards, saying: “If I want to make up an excuse, I can. But, for me, I gave the ball away. I put my hands up, we move on.
It is not the first time a footballer has left the site after receiving abuse, with Irish international Darron Gibson among others, deleting their accounts in the past.
Meanwhile, the issue of racist abuse was also a talking point following tonight’s Europa League game between Tottenham and Lazio at White Hart Lane, after away fans allegedly directed monkey chants at Spurs striker Jermain Defoe.
Additional reporting by Paul Fennessy