Chelsea's Alonso to stop taking the knee

·3 min read
Chelsea's Spanish defender Marcos Alonso will no longer take the knee before matches (AFP/Glyn KIRK)

Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso will no longer join the taking of the knee in protest against racism because the Spain left-back believes the gesture is "losing a bit of strength".

Alonso will instead point to an anti-racism badge on his shirt before kick-off.

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the trend of taking the knee during the American national anthem to protest against police brutality and racial inequality.

Premier League clubs first began to perform the gesture when the 2019/20 season recommenced after the coronavirus lockdown.

Players were showing solidarity with protests against the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in the United States.

"I am fully against racism and every type of discrimination. I just prefer to put my finger to the badge where it says no to racism, like they do in some other sports and football in other countries," said Alonso.

"I think it's another way. Maybe it's losing a bit of strength the other way, so I just prefer to do it this way."

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha became the first Premier League player to decide against taking the knee back in March.

Zaha explained the reasoning for his decision was the gesture has "become a part of the pre-match routine" and done little to curb racist abuse.

Alonso said he has not discussed the issue with his teammates.

"We are like a family. I have a very good relationship with everyone, I love everyone," the 30-year-old added.

"I don't think there is a need to, but, of course, if I have to speak to anyone, I will say the same thing and I don't think there will be problems."

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel defended Alonso's decision as a way of giving a "new direction" to anti-racism campaigning.

"Maybe it takes an action against a routine to wake up again and have another good discussion," the German said on Tuesday.

"We want to do the most we can against racism. There are different forms of doing it.

"This is his decision and we accept it."

- Werner's 'big step forward' -

The Chelsea boss has also spotted the early signs of a strong attacking partnership between club-record signing Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner.

Much was expected of German international Werner when he joined Chelsea from RB Leipzig for £45 million ($62 million) in 2020.

But he only scored six times in last season's Premier League and has at times appeared devoid of confidence.

Tuchel believes his misfiring striker took a "big step forward" after providing an assist and linking with Lukaku in his substitute appearance during Sunday's 3-0 win at Tottenham.

"That gave us a clear impression of how dangerous these two can be together," he added.

"In the last training sessions he (Werner) has been more relaxed and showing more confidence.

"There are clear signs he is on a good way."

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