Chelsea's Marcos Alonso becomes latest Premier League player to stop taking the knee

Chelsea left-back Marcos Alonso says he has become the latest Premier League player to stop taking the knee because he believes the anti-racism gesture is losing its impact.

© GETTY IMAGES Marcos Alonso of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 19, 2021 in London, England – – GETTY IMAGES

Alonso, who captained Chelsea against Aston Villa earlier this month, has not taken the knee in any of his six Premier League and Champions League appearances so far this season – including the victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Following the game against Spurs, in which he played a key part, Alonso confirmed that he will not be taking the knee at all this season and revealed he is instead making his own gesture against racism.

“I am fully against racism and I’m against every type of discrimination, and 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 prefer to do it this way and, of course, to say very clearly that I am against racism and I respect everybody.”

Wilfried Zaha became the first Premier League player to stop taking the knee earlier this year, describing the action as “degrading”, while the gesture has also sparked political debate.

Asked whether or not his decision to stop taking the knee had anything to do with politics, Alonso said: “I don’t know, I just prefer to do it this way. It’s my way to do it, I think it’s another way. And maybe I think it’s losing a bit of strength the other way, so I just prefer to do it this way and to show I am fully supportive of fighting against racism.”

© Provided by The Telegraph Ben Chilwell of Chelsea during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Chelsea FC and Zenit St. Petersburg at Stamford Bridge – GETTY IMAGES

Alonso’s Chelsea team-mates Reece James, Antonio Rudiger and Romelu Lukaku have all been victims of racist abuse, but Alonso has not spoken to them or any other members of the squad about his preference to stand while they take the knee.

“No, we haven’t talked about it,” said Alonso. “We are in the changing room and we are like a family. I have a very good relationship with everyone, I love everyone and up to now we haven’t talked about it. 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 I just told you and I don’t think there will be any problems.”

Asked if it is his intention to not take the knee for the remainder of the season, Alonso added: “Yeah, for now I prefer to point to the sleeve and that’s what I will do.”

Alonso has been in excellent form for Chelsea this season, keeping Ben Chilwell out of the team, and revelled in being loudly booed by the Tottenham supporters on Sunday.

“I love it! To be booed when you play away, it’s music to my ears,” said Alonso. “It might be because I have scored a few goals against them and I think they maybe have these memories in their head when I touch the ball, so yeah I love it and even more when we get the three points.”

Still unbeaten this season, Chelsea are level with Liverpool and Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table, ahead of entertaining champions Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Chelsea beat City in the Champions League final in May, which Alonso believes has put a target on the back of their players this season.

“After winning the Champions League, I think other teams are more motivated (against Chelsea),” said Alonso. “So we need to train even more and we need to try even harder.

“I think every game is going to be tough this season. The Premier League has got so competitive and we are seeing every week how tough it is to get the three points and to play our football. First we have to focus on the Carabao Cup and then we will think about Manchester City. But it will be another tough and another top game.”

Head coach Thomas Tuchel has made half-time changes in each of Chelsea’s last two games, bringing on Jorginho against Aston Villa and N’Golo Kante at Tottenham, to help clinch the victories and Alonso believes the club’s strength in depth will be key.

“These days there are so many games and, of course, there will be games for everybody,” said Alonso. “I’m sure we’re going to need everyone and we need to be together getting the points because it’s very tough, the Premier League this season, and it’s going to be long and tough to stay up there for the whole year.”

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