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    Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin affected by online and terrace abuse


    FM-News

    Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin has revealed that abuse from people on line and in the stands have impacted on him.

    The 23-year-old says he has been forced to "grow thick skin" to cope with insults relating to his passion for fashion and his hairstyle as well as his performances on the pitch.

    However, Bellerin insists the insults he has had to deal with will not stop him expressing himself on and off the field.

    "Some of it can get very abusive. Most of the abuse is online, but you hear it in the stadium, too," he told The Times.

    "People have called me 'lesbian' for growing my hair. There are other kinds of homophobic insults. I have learnt to grow a thick skin but it can affect you. Every now and again, you get a bit of self-doubt.

    "The problem is that people have an idea of what a footballer should look like, how they should behave, what they should talk about.

    "You act a little differently and you become a target. There is pressure to conform. This is very dangerous. In life, you should be allowed to express yourself. People are happier like this.

    "[Twitter] can be a blessing and a curse. When I first came into the ranks at Arsenal, the expectations were very low so people were often impressed when I played well.

    "But then, when I played badly, the stick got crazy. The worst was a year and a half ago. A lot of people say nice things but it is natural to focus on the bad.

    "For a while, I deleted the apps. Later, I decided to go back on. Twitter is a great source of information. Every day I am learning to deal with abuse in a better way."

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