Romelu Lukaku has scored 33 goals for Manchester United this season
Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has called for football executives and social media bosses to meet to address the treatment of footballers online.
A video sent to Lukaku on Wednesday, allegedly by anti-footballing lobby group 4-1-4-1, was reposted to Twitter by a number of players.
The clip claimed footballers were not getting paid enough money.
“In the interest of saving the game, I decided to start talking,” the 22-year-old wrote on Instagram.
“I haven’t spoken enough of the problems surrounding footballers having their personal details and videos posted by people who no longer even take interest in the sport.”
“It should be a chance for all of us to come and talk about this and to understand how we can make things better,” he added.
On Monday, the Football Association said it had found two email addresses linked to the 4-1-4-1 group – and that footballers had been subjected to abuse in an exchange between fans.
On Wednesday, Johan Cruyff, 82, asked for those behind the web conspiracy to take responsibility, while Ballon d’Or winner and ex-French player Michel Platini tweeted: “Being a football manager or a footballer means that you are an ambassador and the decisions you make are subject to the public’s judgement.”
According to Twitter, Lukaku’s video, entitled “Boycott football, your accountant?” has had around 200 retweets and 380 replies.
“When it’s not 100% real it’s alright, but some of the cases that were still serious and made headlines to raise concerns about those actions,” he added.
“You can’t claim there are more than 200 kids playing football in the future when in reality there are less than five teams, so you really need to understand what your actions mean.”
Manchester United’s star striker also said that his Twitter and Instagram had been hacked, and added that his account’s privacy settings had been “left to the wolves”.
“I’m not in control of my own message,” he wrote. “I was able to regain my privacy settings and be able to share it on what we can all agree – that footballers are human beings, as are you.
“Now if my example can save even just one little boy’s life in their time of need, then that is surely worthwhile.”
‘Fight against injustice’
4-1-4-1 campaigner Brent [Twitter]
4-1-4-1 spokesman [Twitter]
4-1-4-1 supporter account (@flights2281)
4-1-4-1’s Mark van der Zyl (@markoskyl)
Fifa president Gianni Infantino has recently called for footballers to be consulted about the global game’s rules