Serie A must have thought it was another harmless social media post.
The official Twitter handle of Italy’s top flight put up a tweet with a collage of the legendary Diego Maradona and Napoli winger, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.
The image showed Maradona placing a crown on Kvaratskhelia’s head.
“A new king is crowned in Napoli,” the caption read.
What followed was a virtual riot.
A Twitter user with the handle @ZeekiHodl wrote: “Victor Osimhen scored 22 goals in Serie A for Napoli. KwaraKwara contributed 10 assists for Napoli
“But guess who they crowned the hero? Kvara.
“We know what you are!!”
Another, @Oghenerie_jnr, made his disapproval more succinct.
“I’m so disappointed. You couldn’t even hide your racism. God forbid,” he wrote.
Italian football has been marred with incidents of racism in recent years.
In April, Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku was racially abused by fans during the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg against Juventus.
Juve put out a statement saying they are “collaborating with the police” on identifying those who abused Lukaku.
The following day, they released a podcast with defender Danilo on the issue of racism. Serie A’s official Twitter account also posted saying “racism has no place in stadiums”.
But was their tweet a disguised form of racism in high places?
“Racist. They can’t stand a black man being king of Italy,” Buchi Laba, a Broadcast Journalist, TV presenter and commentator, tells DAILY POST in a matter-of-fact tone.
ShowGlass CEO and Marketing Consultant, Emmanuel Nwachukwu, is of a different opinion.
“I am not sure (it is racist), and I’d rather not go down that lane.
“I know football is an art, hence, we see the game from different prisms and biases, but, I really would love to hear the thought process behind that post from the person(s) involved.
“I say this because, at the time of granting you this interview, it makes no footballing sense to me.
“So, maybe, if I hear what they were thinking or considered, it may make sense to me,” he said.
There are arguments for and against who should be Serie A player of the year.
Osimhen has scored 23 times this campaign, including the strike that sealed the Scudetto.
Kvara, as he’s fondly called, has the most assists in Serie A this season (10).
“I strongly think that Osimhen has earned the crown as the player of the year,” Nwachukwu adds.
“Napoli thus far has scored 70 goals, with Osimhen scoring 23(⅓ of the total) in 28 games.
“Asides from the numbers, that Napoli appeared to have struggled during the period Victor was out injured underlines how critical he is to the team’s fortunes.”
Of course, Laba agrees.
“The statistics don’t lie. The passion doesn’t lie. The hard work doesn’t lie. The influence doesn’t lie.
“Victor Osimhen is the soul of the Napoli team, while Kvara is the rhythm,” he explained.