Hearts striker Armand Gnanduillet opens up on suffering racist abuse
And the 6’4” striker, has told others inspired to follow in his footsteps not to be put off by abuse and to speak out, rather than lash out as he did in his formative football years.
The Ivory Coast youth international relived the abuse as a young player and said: “It's important to talk about this cause it's something that shouldn't be allowed - it can break people.
“Unfortunately I have been abused because of my skin colour. I was young at the time. I'm French and in France you've got a lot of people like that. When it happened my first reaction was to fight because I wasn't happy.
"But then when I grew up I realised you can’t always have a fight with people like that because they are stupid - I was more sad for them anything else.
"Of course it hurt, I didn't really understand why they were doing it but as I said, there are a lot of stupid human beings.”
Football authorities in England have written to social media companies over abuse being received by players and told Twitter and Facebook to do more to protect players from a abuse – and the former Blackpool and Oxford United striker agreed more could be done.
In an interview with anti-racism group Unify UK he said: “Clearly [football authorities] can do more. We always can do more by talking and educating from a young age. With social media you can pass on some positive messages and in football too.”
And Gnanduillet urged other to open up as he had done – and not to give up on their football dream. He added: "Enjoy football because the time goes quick – they are not doing anything wrong by practising the sport they love. Always open your mouth if someone abuses you. Don’t be afraid to – everyone is different but by talking you may give a little push for someone else to talk.”