Dani Alves eats banana thrown at him during a football match - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Dani Alves eats banana thrown at him during a football match

Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off during an AC Milan soccer match in Italy, but Dani Alves turned to humor in dealing with racist abuse during a Spanish league game.

The Brazilian was taking a corner during Barca's 3-2 win at Villarreal's El Madrigal stadium Sunday when a banana landed at his feet.

"Dani Alves owned him," tweeted the Brazilian's teammate Neymar. "Take That bunch of Racists. We are all Monkeys So What."

Former England international Gary Lineker , who played for Barcelona, also applauded Alves' quick thinking.

"Utterly brilliant reaction from Alves," tweeted Lineker. "Treat the racist berk with complete disdain."

After the match, the 30-year-old Alves posted a clip of the incident on Instagram, joking his father had always told him to eat bananas to prevent cramp.

It's not the first time the Barcelona defender has been targeted -- in January 2013 Alves claimed he was abused during Barca's Copa del Rey semifinal match against archrivals Real Madrid.

"We have suffered this in Spain for some time," he told reporters. "You have to take it with a dose of humor."

"We aren't going to change things easily. If you don't give it importance, they don't achieve their objective."

Villarreal condemned the act on their official Twitter account.

"It's a shame to see that an ignorant person is capable of doing something so terrible. It has no place in the world of sport and less so in our stadium. #NotoRacism," the club posted.

"As sportspeople one of the values that we try to safeguard and promote is respect. Be it the opposing team, the referee, rival fans."

Sunday's match was Barca's first game since the death of former coach Tito Vilanova on Friday.

Barca went 2-0 down against seventh-placed Villarreal before launching a stirring fightback in the final half hour.

A Gabriel Paulista own-goal on 65 minutes gave Tata Martino's team hope before a second own goal, this time from Mateo Mussachio, levelled the match with 12 minutes remaining.

Argentina star Lionel Messi won the match for Barca in the 83rd minute to leave the Catalan club four points behind La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid with three matches left to play.

The two teams meet on the final day of the season.

During 2013 European football was hit by several incidents of racism, notably when Boateng walked off the pitch during a friendly match between his then club AC Milan and a lower-league Italian side.

That incident prompted world governing body FIFA to introduce tougher sanctions for racist abuse.

Punishments for first offenses bring a warning, fine or clubs being forced to play games in empty stadiums. A second offense, or one deemed "serious," could result in demotion, a deduction of points or expulsion from a tournament.

Liverpool's Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches in December 2011 after he was found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

A second lengthy ban was imposed on the Uruguayan towards the end of the 2012-13 season after Suarez bit Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic, meaning he missed the first five games of the current Premier League season.

But since his return, Suarez has been sensational. He has scored 30 league goals to spearhead Liverpool's title challenge and on Sunday his contribution was recognized after he was named the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year.

It was a bittersweet day for Suarez with the award coming hours after Liverpool's 2-0 defeat against Chelsea.

The defeat ended Liverpool's 11-match winning run and handed the initiative to Manchester City in the race for the championship.

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