Spanish police have arrested the man who racially insulted Barcelona defender Dani Alves by throwing a banana at him, with reports claiming the perpetrator worked for Villarreal.
Police confirmed 26-year-old David Campayo Lleo was arrested, with Spanish media reporting he was fired from his role on the coaching staff of one of the club’s youth teams.
Campayo Lleo faces from one to three years in prison if found guilty of charges related to racist provocation.
Villarreal has already banned Campayo Lleo from the team’s El Madrigal Stadium for life, and the Spanish league is expected to hand down punishment after the incident was listed in the referee’s match report of Barcelona’s 3-2 win at Villarreal on Sunday.
Alves picked up the banana and took a bite, provoking a social media campaign against racism in support of the Brazilian player, who is black.
Barcelona teammate Neymar was the first to post a picture of himself with a banana, leading to a flood of football players and figures, celebrities, and world politicians doing likewise.
Alves said if he had it his way, he would post Campayo Lleo’s picture on the Internet to shame him.
Villarreal said president Fernando Roig would be meeting with the team’s supporters’ groups to ensure such behaviour was not replicated after Alves called Spain “backward” and “there’s prejudice against foreigners because of race and colour”.
Alves has been subjected to racist taunts before, and black players Marcelo, Samuel Eto’o, and England’s black players have also been on the receiving end of well-publicised racist behaviour by Spanish fans.