Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino says he knows first-hand how hurtful racist abuse can be, after he was cleared of racially abusing Everton’s Mason Holgate.
Holgate accused Firmino of using a discriminatory term towards him after they were involved in a heated exchange during the Merseyside derby in January.
The two players clashed after the 21-year-old Toffees starlet barged the Brazilian over the advertising hoardings and into the crowd during the game.
The Football Association have investigated the incident for over a month and, in a statement released on Wednesday evening , they have confirmed the Liverpool forward will not face any action.
In his own statement, Firmino has insisted the claims were false and that he understands the severity of racist abuse on the football field – because he has been victim of it in the past.
His statement read: “As difficult as it has been to remain publicly silent, given the serious and damaging nature of what it was claimed I said during the game, I did so to demonstrate my respect for the process and to allow the issue to be investigated in the most thorough way.
"It is critical for football that tackling racism and all forms of discrimination is taken extremely seriously. As someone who has experienced racist abuse during my life, I know how damaging and hurtful it can be.
"Now the process is concluded, I would like to place on record, for the avoidance of any doubt, I did not say the word, or a variation of the word, that was claimed and subsequently reported in the media. I did not use any language that referenced race. I did not - and would never - reference a person’s skin colour or culture, by means of insult, during a dispute or an argument.
"There is no place for discrimination on a football pitch, or anywhere else in life for that matter.
"I am pleased after exhaustive reviews of all the evidence, in this specific incident, the matter is resolved."