Arsenal full-back Hector Bellerin says he has had to put up with a barrage of abuse on social media and from the terraces. The 23-year-old Spaniard admits the insults and abuse have been in relation to his hairstyle and his passion for clothes that has seen him attend several fashion shows and mix with icons of that world.
Bellerin, who has played in all four of Arsenal’s Premier League games this season as they lie ninth in the Premier League, admits he has had to grow thick skin.
“Some of it can get very abusive. Most of the abuse is online, but you hear it in the stadium, too,” he told The Times.
“People have called me ‘lesbian’ for growing my hair. There are other kinds of homophobic insults. I have learnt to grow a thick skin but it can affect you. Every now and again, you get a bit of self-doubt.
“The problem is that people have an idea of what a footballer should look like, how they should behave, what they should talk about.
“You act a little differently and you become a target. There is pressure to conform. This is very dangerous. In life, you should be allowed to express yourself. People are happier like this.”