Patrick van Aanholt reveals racist messages he received on social media came after abuser lost bet

Patrick van Aanholt was racially abused on Instagram after missing chance to win game in Crystal Palace's draw with Man Utd; Dutch defender says abuser had bet on him to score and Palace to win match; "Why are we talking about racism in 2021?" he asks in exclusive SSN interview

Patrick van Aanholt (PA) 1:21
Crystal Palace defender Patrick van Aanholt says racism is a problem in all of Europe's top leagues and must be stopped

Crystal Palace defender Patrick van Aanholt has revealed that the racist abuse he suffered on social media last month came as the result of a lost bet.

Van Aanholt was targeted on Instagram following Palace's 0-0 draw at home to Manchester United in the Premier League on March 3, in which he had a late chance to win the game but was denied by opposition goalkeeper Dean Henderson.

The 30-year-old highlighted the abuse he received on his Instagram story, adding the caption 'why we kneel'. Instagram said it removed the offending account and took steps to prevent the user from returning to the platform.

Talking about the abuse he received in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News, Van Aanholt explained: "It was just after the United game and I missed that chance.

"Somebody posted a bet on us to win the game and me to score - unfortunately, I didn't score and he lost his bet. He abused me on social media.

"I was at home after the game, chilling with my family and I saw the message. I responded to portions on my story, just to show people it's still there.

"It didn't affect me the way he wanted me to be affected, but it's not nice to call people those kinds of words. I think we need to call them out and that's what I did."

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Van Aanholt is one of many players in English football to have been racially abused online, while Valencia made headlines last weekend when they walked off the pitch after defender Mouctar Diakhaby was allegedly racially abused by Cadiz's Juan Cala.

Mouctar Diakhaby of Valencia CF during spanish La Liga match between Valencia cf and Granada CF at Mestalla Stadium on March 21, 2021. (Photo by Jose Miguel Fernandez/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Image: Valencia's Mouctar Diakhaby was allegedly racially abused by a Cadiz player last weekend

"I don't know what to say - why are we talking about racism in 2021?" added Van Aanholt. "It's just ridiculous - it's crazy.

"But it's not just in the Premier League, it's everywhere - it's in La Liga, in France. It needs to stop. Everybody should call them out."

Van Aanholt has enjoyed happier times on the field this season, during which he has been Palace's first-choice left-back as Roy Hodgson's side once again close in on securing their Premier League status.

The south London side could be in for a busy summer though, with Hodgson and many of his squad - including Van Aanholt - seeing their contracts expire at the end of the season.

AP - Patrick van Aanholt 0:48
Van Aanholt backs Swansea's decision to boycott social media for one week to highlight racist abuse on online platforms

The Netherlands international has been linked with a move to Arsenal and, while he insists he is "happy" at Selhurst Park, he was non-committal on his Palace future.

"I'm not in a rush to make any decisions," Van Aanholt said. "I'm focused on Palace and focused on finishing the season very well.

"After that, hopefully I'm going to the Euros with Holland, and then I'll make a decision what's going to happen.

"Everybody knows I'm happy at Palace. I'm here to play football. There are eight games left and I'm going to do my best every game. After those eight games are finished we'll see what happens."

Patrick van Aanholt (PA)
Image: Van Aanholt spent seven years at Chelsea but could only make eight first-team appearances

The first of those eight games is against Chelsea on Saturday - live on Sky Sports - in which Van Aanholt will come up against the club that brought him to England from PSV back in 2007.

Van Aanholt - who played only eight times for Chelsea before joining Sunderland seven years later after a series of loan moves - believes his old club's 5-2 defeat to West Brom last weekend was merely a blip, saying: "Before West Brom, they were unbeaten in so many games and they kept so many clean sheets, so I think the manager knows what he's doing and he knows what he wants from his team.

"The team are adapting to it so I think it's been working out very well for them. They are a top team - they are still in the top five."

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