Spanish police arrest Dani Alves banana thrower suspect

Dani Alves taken on 20 April 2014
Image caption Dani Alves told the BBC that Sunday's racist insult was not an isolated case

Spanish police say they have arrested a spectator suspected of throwing a banana at Barcelona's Brazilian footballer Dani Alves last weekend.

The racist incident took place as the player was about to take a corner in a match at Villarreal on Sunday.

Alves responded by peeling and eating the banana - which received praise worldwide and sparked a large social media campaign against racism.

The man detained has been identified as a 26-year-old Villarreal supporter.

He has been named as David Campaya Lleo, local media say.

The club said earlier the man involved had had his season ticket withdrawn and been given a lifetime ban.

The Barcelona defender expressed his surprise at the outpouring of support in the wake of the banana affair. His team eventually won the match 3-2, at Villareal's El Madrigal stadium in Castellon on Spain's east coast.

Alves told BBC Brasil on Wednesday it was "not an isolated incident", and that he had been denouncing racist insults for six years.

"I hope that this (campaign) can be an alert to ban this kind of attitude from football altogether. I hope the debate about racial prejudice will not fade away, but stays on permanently and not be restricted only to football," he added.

Lifetime ban

Reports suggest the suspect in detention may have had links to one of the Villarreal's youth teams, although the team has not commented on this.

In a statement earlier this week, Villarreal said the club "deeply regrets and condemns the incident".

Image copyright AP
Image caption The Italian premier (left) and national football coach share a moment of solidarity with Dani Alves

In earlier comments to Brazil's Radio Globo, Alves said he wanted the opposition fan who threw the banana to be publicly shamed.

He also criticised Spain for its approach to racism, saying: "They sell the country as being first world but in certain things they are very backward."

The hashtag "we are all monkeys" took Twitter by storm after fellow Brazilian footballer Neymar tweeted a photo of himself smiling on Instagram with a banana, side by side with his toddler son.

Professional footballers, celebrities and ordinary people alike have since posted photos of themselves, banana in hand, on social media.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi became the latest public figure to join the campaign when he posed for reporters, sharing a banana with Italian football coach Cesare Prandelli.

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