England’s Bukayo Saka says he will not be broken by his penalty miss in the Euro 2020 final or the heinous racist abuse he suffered in the aftermath, although he appealed to social media to do more to prevent the spread of racist messages.
After lighting up the summer tournament with some brilliant performances, Saka added his name to the long list of players in England who missed a penalty in a shooting game when Gianluigi Donnarumma’s rescue confirmed that the Three Lions are waiting for major tournament successes to continue.
After a brief period of reflection after the tournament, the 19-year-old has taken to his personal page on social media to thank the fans who have sent him support messages in recent days – and despite being bitterly disappointed with the result, says he is extremely proud of his teammates .
“I have stayed away from social media for a few days to spend time with my family and reflect on the past few weeks,” Saka wrote. “This message will not do justice to how grateful I am for all the love I have received, and I feel I need to thank everyone who has supported me.
Bukayo Saka is comforted by Gareth Southgate / Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images
“It was an honor to be part of an England squad leading by example, they are brothers for life and I am grateful for everything I have learned from all the players and staff who worked so hard.
“Helping a team reach our first final in 55 years, seeing my family in the audience, knowing what they’ve given up to help me get there, that meant everything to me.
“There are no words to tell you how disappointed I was with the result and my punishment. I really thought we would win this for you. I’m sorry we could not take it home to you this year, but I promise you that we will give everything we have to make sure this generation knows what it feels like to win.
“My reaction after the match said it all, I hurt so much and I felt I would disappoint you all and my family in England, but I can promise you this … I will not let the moment or the negativity that I has had to break me this week.
– Bukayo Saka (@ BukayoSaka87) July 15, 2021
After reflecting on England’s campaign, Saka took the opportunity to address the social media platforms that have effectively facilitated the heinous racist abuse he, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho have suffered.
Saka believes that more needs to be done to stop the spread of such harmful messages, but he once again thanked those who have supported him and stood up to the individuals who send the abuse.
“For those who have campaigned on my behalf and sent my heartfelt letters, wishing me and my family good luck – I am so grateful,” he added. “This is what football should be about. Passion, people of all races, genders, religions and backgrounds come together with a common joy of the football field.
“To the social media platforms Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I do not want any child or adult to have the hateful and harmful messages that I, Marcus and Jadon have received this week.
The majority of the country has shown their support for Saka, Rashford and Sancho / Charlotte Tattersall / Getty Images
“I knew right away what kind of hatred I would get and it’s a sad reality that your powerful platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.
“There is no place for racism or hatred of any kind in football or in any area of society and to the majority of the people who gather to call out the people who send these messages, by taking action and reporting these comments to the police and by driving out the hatred. by being kind to each other, we will win.
“Love always wins.”