Speaking in an interview with AS, Valencia defender Mouctar Diakhaby gave his version of the events that unfolded in Cádiz during Valencia’s 2-1 win on April 4. 

Valencia’s players left the pitch in the first half of the match after Diakhaby said he had been racially abused by Cádiz player Juan Cala, an allegation the defender denies.

You said you heard the words “black shit.” When was that?

It was said to me when we were in the penalty area when I was protecting the ball. When [Valencia keeper] Jaume had the ball, he insulted me. He insulted me and then turned around. I didn’t hear the “leave me alone thing” because he had his back to me. I shouted “ref, ref!” It was the first time that had happened to me and I forgot everything that was happening on the pitch. I only had his words in my head.

Did he say it quietly, or so you would hear it?

He said it when he got up. I think maybe he was hurt, I don’t know, but he got up and then said that. You can see in the replay he turns a bit towards me and the last word that comes out is “shit.” But when he said it (Diakhaby doesn’t repeat the full phrase because his son appears in the room) he’s closer to the ground.

Did any of your teammates hear what you and Cala said?

Thierry [Correia] and Jaume were the closest but they were focused on the game and he said it quietly. It was difficult for them to hear. Nobody else heard it. If they had, they would have said so.

What did the referee say?

First he showed me a yellow card but he didn’t know why I was so agitated and angry. Then he asked me and I told him.

Who made the decision to leave the pitch? You or your teammates who were nearby?

Gabi [Paulista] saw my reaction. He could see my mind wasn’t on the game, that I was going to go. He knew because he knows me, that I don’t react like that over anything. Gabi and I talked and we made the decision to leave the pitch.

Would you be willing to speak in front of the judge with Cala?

Of course, of course. I’m not afraid. I’ll reiterate what I understood because I understood it only too well. I’ve been in Spain for almost three years now and I understand almost everything. And those types of words, even more so. They are not difficult words to understand. If no proof of what happened is found in the investigation it’s my word against his. I understand that. Without proof, I don’t think he’ll be punished. That’s logical. But we’ll see. I hope that proof is found and everything possible is done to find that proof.

On racism

I can’t say if he’s [Cala] racist, I don’t know him, but he used a racist word and he should be punished because if we let these things go, we’ll never stamp out racism in society. I’ll say it again, I don’t know Cala personally and I can’t say he is racist. But he has said a word that he has to account for, in the same way, I should pay if I made a mistake like that. If there is no punishment it’s as good as saying we can say whatever we like and we can’t fight to eradicate racism like that. There’s a lot of talk about stopping racism, but not much is done about it.