Djibril Cisse: Racism still exists, but not in England

The QPR striker revealed he has received abuse in other countries but insists he hasn't witnessed any in his four years playing in the Premier League
Djibril Cisse has spoken candidly about racism in football ahead of the much-talked about clash between his club QPR and Chelsea on Saturday.

Last November, the same fixture provoked an accusation against the then-England captain John Terry for what was alleged to be a racist act towards QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

Terry was eventually acquitted of the charges and although the rivalry remains fierce between the two west London clubs, Cisse believes it is minor compared to some of the atmospheres he has experienced in Europe.

“The derbies between Panathinaikos and Olympiakos were just so intense,” he was quoted as saying by The Sun. Cisse scored 51 goals in 89 appearances for Panathinaikos, whom he captained, during a two-year spell in Athens between 2009 and 2011.

“In the week building up to the game the fans would come to our training ground, hold meetings with players and tell us what the game meant to them and why we had to win.

“The pressure on the players was huge and the atmosphere was incredible. That derby had much more tension.

“I’m not saying QPR-Chelsea is a nothing game, it’s a huge game and a big derby. But Panathinaikos v Olympiakos is on another level — it’s pure hatred.

“The players get called everything, including racist abuse. There are no boundaries and it is not nice.”

Cisse's current club face Roberto Di Matteo's outfit at Loftus Road looking to improve on a start that has yielded just a solitary point from three games.
9/1 Djibril Cisse is 9/1 with Paddy Power to open the scoring for QPR against Chelsea

And the Frenchman spoke of the rivalry, adding: “Do not get me wrong, the rivalry between QPR and Chelsea is very strong. They are our local rivals.

“It’s a derby and it’s a big game for us — bigger than most. It is without doubt one of the most important games of the season, for players and fans.

“But all the clubs I have played for have had big local derbies and, when it comes to bad behaviour on and off the pitch, this is not the worst.

“It [racism] is still going on in football, but in other countries.

“In England I have never experienced it. People here realise it’s something that should not happen, inside or outside football, and that’s a good thing.”

This will be the third time the two sides have met since the infamous incident between Terry and Ferdinand, and leaves Mark Hughes' side looking to avenge an embarrassing defeat at Stamford Bridge.

“It’s never good to lose, especially 6-1 against your local rivals,” Cisse continued.

“We want to put that right this time and I think we can.

“We’ve got a better team and a better squad than we had last season. I think we can do something.

“That 6-1 game still haunts me and I still wonder what went wrong.

“I think they were better than us in terms of quality and when you concede a goal in the first minute like we did it is very difficult to come back. Especially as they scored another soon after.

“It was not only my worst moment in a QPR shirt, it was also one of the worst moments of my career. I had never conceded six goals before. You could say we owe them one now.”

The solitary goal that day was scored by Cisse and led to a bemused reaction across football as he celebrated passionately in the aftermath of netting, but the frontman downplayed his reaction.

“It was not a celebration. Come on, how you can celebrate scoring when you are 6-1 down?

“It was anger. I was angry. I am a goalscorer and I was not happy to lose so heavily. It was a statement to show we deserved more than that.

“It wasn’t a celebration at all and it really annoys me when people say that to me.”