Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal said society has serious problems, after he was bitterly criticized for “supporting” Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-final match against Arsenal FC.
A devoted Real Madrid fan, Nadal was spotted at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium last week with an Atletico jersey around his neck.
The images immediately sparked heated debates on social media, with many users lambasting the 16-time grand slam winner for supporting Real Madrid’s fierce rivals.
“Well, there is a problem with today’s society, that to be a true supporter of one team, it seems that you have to be anti another team,” Nadal told reporters on Monday, after arriving in the Spanish capital to participate in the Madrid Open, AP reported.
“I just support Real Madrid. I have a lot of friends that are from Atletico. They are playing in a competition in Europe against an English team. I just went there to support Atletico Madrid. They invited me. I just wanted to enjoy the day, to see a great football match.”
The two-time Olympic champion also said that Atletico President Enrique Cerezo gave him the jersey which he used as a scarf to warm up on a chilly evening.
“At night it was a little bit chilly, a little bit cold, and I just used it as a scarf. That’s all. But it’s always the same stuff. Maybe there’s too much hypocrisy, or I would say you people in the media have to write too many things, so you have to explore some stupid things.”