Emmanuel Adebayor has revealed that alleged racist chanting from Arsenal fans caused his infamous celebration against them in September 2009.
The striker had only months prior ended a three-year stint at the Gunners to join Manchester City for a fee of around £25 million.
In his first appearance against his former club, Adebayor netted City’s third goal in a 4-2 win against Arsenal and celebrated by running the length of the pitch to slide on his his knees in front of the away supporters at the Etihad Stadium.
The Togo forward did later apologise for his actions and was fined by the Football Association (FA), but reflecting almost a decade on, Adebayor feels his punishment was unfair given the alleged racist abuse he received from Arsenal supporters.
“This is the thing,” the 35-year-old told the Daily Mail. “And it is why I have not said anything about racism the past few weeks. When I celebrated, the FA fined me, they punished me. Nothing happened to the Arsenal fans. So it [racism] started with me and long before me.
“I remember getting to the stadium and Arsenal fans were there. All I heard was the the chant: ‘Your mother is a wh*re and your father washes elephants’.
“My father worked in currency exchange and my mother is a businesswoman, but this went on and on. So how can I reply? I didn’t have a voice to go against thousands of supporters.
“Now the same FA are trying to stop racism? I’m sorry, it does not work that way. Today is too late. We are tired. Enough is enough. I see Mario Balotelli and Didier Drogba on Instagram. How many times do we have to post something? We have to react. We have to leave the pitch.
“The abuse was too much,” he added. “I was ready to die. I just looked at them and thought: ‘There are things you do not do’.
“If a sniper shot me, he would not have struck me down. I was in my spiritual zone. Kolo Toure said to me: ‘I was looking at the pictures and you did not flinch once’. I did not feel human anymore."
Adebayor is currently playing with the likes of Gael Clichy, Robinho, Arda Turan and Demba Ba at for Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir.
As well as representing Arsenal and Man City, Adebayor has also played for Monaco, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur during his distinguished career.