Belgrade (AFP) – Partizan Belgrade’s Brazilian star Everton Luiz left the field after a match Sunday in tears after suffering a welter of racial abuse from fans of local rivals Rad, B82 television reported.

Luiz, 28, saw his every touch greeted with monkey noises, the TV said, adding that the match was halted late on after some Rad fans brandished a banner insulting the Latin American midfielder, who won the Serbian Cup last year with Partizan.

At the final whistle, another broadcaster showed Luiz making a one-fingered gesture in the direction of the Rad fans, who made their disapproval clear, prompting police to move in and prevent tensions spilling over as Luiz headed for the dressing room in tears.

“I couldn’t hold back the tears as I had to face racist insults from the terraces for 90 minutes,” said Luiz.

“I was even more shocked by the attitude of opposing players who, instead of calming things down, backed this behaviour,” he added. 

“It’s a return to the reality of Serbian football,” said Partizan coach Marko Nikolic afterwards.

Partizan won the game 1-0 to stay second in the table six points behind Red Star Belgrade.

Serbian football has been marred by several other racist incidents in recent years, not least when fans chanted abuse at England’s black players at an under21 international match five years ago.

And Serbia were also the subject of UEFA’s ire after a Euro 2012 qualifier against Italy in Genoa was abandoned following an outbreak of hooliganism by Serbian fans. Italy were eventually awarded the points in a 3-0 success.