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FC Barcelona 'forced' player to delete pro-Palestine Instagram story

VITORIA-GASTEIZ, SPAIN - JANUARY 23: Abde Ezzalzouli of FC Barcelona reacts during the LaLiga Santander match between Deportivo Alaves and FC Barcelona at Estadio de Mendizorroza on January 23, 2022 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Abde Ezzalzouli of FC Barcelona reacts during the LaLiga Santander match between Deportivo Alaves and FC Barcelona at Estadio de Mendizorroza on January 23, 2022 in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain [Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images]

Spanish football giant FC Barcelona is reported to have forced one of its young stars to delete a pro-Palestine Instagram post. According to Palestine Online, 20-year-old winger Abde Ezzalzouli, who is a Moroccan international player, shared footage showing last week's Israeli attacks on Palestinians in Al-Aqsa Mosque, but the club pressured him to take it down.

Ezzalzouli is a rising star in Catalonia. Although he plays for Morocco, the Royal Spanish Football Federation were so desperate to get him to commit his future to Spain that they put pressure on him not to play for his country of birth.

The report about Ezzalzouli being forced to delete his social media post supporting Palestine has sparked criticism and allegations of double standards in the world of sport.

"The hypocrisy that the Ukraine war has uncovered is truly staggering," said a shocked football fan on Twitter. With mass displays of solidarity with Ukraine, European football clubs, including FC Barcelona, ignored their own advice about not mixing politics with sport, which has been the usual official response every time a player has tried to show solidarity with Palestine.

"That's me finished with Barcelona," said another Twitter user and an apparent supporter of the club. "Support for UNICEF just a veneer." The UN body is one of FC Barcelona's sponsors.

FC Barcelona has not commented on the issue. The club has, however, shown in the past that it is willing to stand up against the Israeli occupation of Palestine. In July last year, FC Barcelona refused to play against an Israeli club in occupied Jerusalem. However, in 2013, Barcelona stars Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique were photographed alongside far-right Prime Minister of Israel at the time, Benjamin Netanyahu, during a club visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank.

READ: Palestinians hail FC Barcelona for refusing to play with Israeli club

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