You have played with people from a lot of different cultures in football. Would you say that is a good thing and you have learned a lot from them?
Yes, I have learned a lot from different cultures. I have been lucky to have played with people from Asia, America, Africa and from all over the world.
We are all human beings and we get used to different cultures, different colour and everything – that does not change the person. I have friends that are black, some from Asia and I figure you just learn more about life and how things are. I think it is a positive thing on the football pitch and outside the football pitch.
Did you ever come across racism when you were growing up?
Yes and no. There will always be someone who will want to say things but I would never support them. My best friend was adopted when he was two months old and he is black, so I have been with him when people have said things to him.
I was the first to stand up for him and he has even had to hold me back, because I think it is a poor thing when people say things like that. Just because you are from a different race or have a different colour, it doesn’t mean you are a bad person – you can be a good person whoever you are.
It is a part of the world that everybody is different in maybe colour or culture-wise, but in the end we have to learn from each other because whoever you are you can learn different things about different cultures.
What would your advice be to a young person suffering from racism?
I think you just have to be proud of who you are because those people who are saying things probably don’t know you or where you are from. I think if the person got to know you they would have a totally different view about you.
Of course you should tell people if something like that happens to you, because it is not a nice thing. You just have to put your head up and be yourself and grow from things; don’t let people rip you down because you are different, just yourself and be proud of it – that is the most important thing.
You can get support from your best friends, who will always be there for you, from wherever you are in the world.
Why do you think some people are racist?
I don’t know to be honest, that is a tough question! Maybe because some people are jealous or they don’t like a culture they don’t know anything about and they think everything has to be like they are thinking.
The world is so big, there is room for loads of different things – I meet loads of different people where not everything they do suits me but I can still be friends with them. You don’t have to follow people in everything; you can still do your own things as well and you don’t have to hate a person just because they are different. I think you have to respect their values and if you don’t like them you don’t have to say anything – you can leave the person alone, which is a much better option.
Can you think of a situation where racism could be seen as acceptable?
I would say that racism could never be acceptable because it is something that shouldn’t be there. If you have a problem with a person you should just walk away and be yourself.