Corriere dello Sport previewed the upcoming Serie A game between Inter and Roma with a front-page "Black Friday" headline between images of Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling, a choice of wording that has attracted widespread criticism.
Smalling and Lukaku, former Manchester United teammates, face off at the San Siro on Friday as Inter Milan look to maintain top spot in Serie A beating Champions League-chasing Roma, prompting the Rome-based Corriere dello Sport to publish the controversial headline. "It will be a Black Friday, but this is not an end-of-season sale", the article said.
"But this headline has totally overshadowed the anti-racist message contained within the story".
Inter Milan reacted to the front page with a statement on social media saying, "Football is passion, culture and brotherhood".
The rest of the headline reads: "Former Manchester United teammates and current Inter and Roma heroes will meet in tomorrow's inthe race for the Scudetto and championship title".
Inter have stated "we are and always will be opposed to any form of discrimination" amid an Italian newspaper sparking a racism storm with a controversial front-page headline.
It added: "They [Lukaku and Smalling] have learned how to respect each other".
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Given recent incidents of racism in Italy, some involving Lukaku himself, the headline can be certainly taken at best insensitive and even ignorant.
In response, Corriere dello Sport argued: "White, blacks, yellows".
"We will not stay silent on this issue. superficiality and ignorance on the subject of racism are no longer tolerable".
This is the latest controversy during a season in which Serie A has had to deal a number of incidents of racism.
Belgium global Lukaku, who is of Congolese descent, was subjected to racist abuse by Cagliari fans in September.
In September, Cagliari fans were caught on camera abusing Lukaku with monkey chants as he converted the club's winning 72nd-minute penalty in a 2-1 win.
Anti-racism body Fare said of the daily's front page "the media fuels racism every day".