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Atletico's Madrid Christian Rodriguez (R) and Levante's Papakouli Diop challenge for the ball during their Spanish first division soccer match at Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid January 20, 2013. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
MADRID (Reuters) - Levante's Senegal midfielder Papakouly Diop has complained of racist abuse from a section of the Atletico Madrid supporters during Sunday's La Liga game.
Diop was by the corner flag in front of several thousand travelling Atletico fans at the end of Levante's 2-0 win in Valencia and said he had been targeted with monkey chants.
Television footage clearly showed a number of supporters making monkey gestures and Diop responded by dancing in front of them, prompting a mass brawl involving players from both teams.
"I was going to take a corner and some of the Atletico fans started making monkey chants," Diop told reporters.
"To defuse the situation I started dancing but I didn't insult anyone," he added.
"I have nothing against the Atletico fans because it was only a section who chanted.
"It's a lack of respect you get at all stadiums. It's a provocation. I don't know if you can call it racism but these monkey chants have to stop."
The abuse of Diop, which was not mentioned in the referee's match report, came only days after Barcelona defender Dani Alves was the target of a racist taunt at Villarreal when a fan threw a banana on to the pitch next to him.
Images of Alves, a Brazil international, picking up the banana and taking a bite were beamed around the world and he was widely backed by fellow players and other public figures.
Spanish and European football has long been blighted by racist incidents involving fans and officials criticised for not doing enough to stamp them out.
(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Ed Osmond)
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