Cagliari have issued an apology to Blaise Matuidi after the Juventus midfielder alleged he was subjected to racist abuse during Saturday's Serie A game at the Sardegna Arena, while Mario Balotelli has urged his fellow player not to judge all Italians on the actions of a few.
Matuidi hit out at "weak people" who "intimidate with hate" in a post on his official Facebook page after the Italian champions recorded a 1-0 victory thanks to Federico Bernardeschi's goal.
"I am not a hater and can only be sorry for those who set bad examples," Matuidi wrote.
"Football is a way to spread equality, passion and inspiration and this is what I am here for. Peace."
Matuidi appeared to be upset at an incident shortly before half-time and was seen looking towards the stands, the player having also been targeted by racist chants in a game against Verona on December 30.
Verona were hit with a €20,000 fine and a partial stadium ban, suspended for a year, as a result of the abuse aimed at Matuidi.
Responding to the France midfielder via the club's official Twitter account, Cagliari posted: "You're a great player, an example to young players.
"We want to apologise to you if you were insulted at the Sardegna Arena because of the colour of your skin.
"Racism has nothing to do with the Sardinian people. Only ignorance can explain certain behaviour. Respect."
Tu es un joueur énorme. Exemple pour les jeunes. Nous désirons nous excuser avec toi si tu as été insulté à la Sardegna Arena pour la couleur de ta peau. Le racisme n'a rien à voir avec le peuple sarde. Seulement l'ignorance peut expliqué certains comportements. Respect. — Cagliari Calcio (@CagliariCalcio) January 7, 2018
Meanwhile, Italy international Balotelli has reached out to Matuidi and, having endured racist chants himself in his homeland, implored his fellow player to ignore the ignorance shown by an ill-informed minority of fans.
Blaise I’ve been through this, don’t let the ignorance of a few affect you. Not all italians are like that. Keep doing great bro! Blaise sono passato anche io attraverso questo, non lasciare che L ignoranza di pochi ti affetti. Non tutti gli italiani sono così. Continua a fare bene frate! #equalgame
"Blaise I've been through this," Balotelli said on his Instagram account, "Don’t let the ignorance of a few affect you. Not all italians are like that. Keep doing great bro!"