World soccer star Romelu Lukaku has urged social media chiefs to help those who suffer at the hands of abuse on social media.
Lukaku, who plays for the Premier League’s Manchester United, was speaking on BBC radio on Monday morning after recently meeting with young people with mental health problems and the official suicide prevention service.
Lukaku said he is “disgusted” by the online abuse.
“I cannot understand people who behave like that (online),” he said. “There are so many people who behave like this. I can’t see them in real life.
“What people do behind social media, I cannot understand. These people are disgusting.”
He added: “The worst thing is that we can’t say anything to them. That they are addicted to it.
“I have been very happy on social media and been surrounded by support from millions of people in the world.
“But for the people who do it every day, if we can help them and help this generation … what can we do? It’s very difficult to say but we should talk.
“Footballers are not famous … but football is their biggest problem. For sure.”
Lukaku also told BBC that soccer league bosses must do more to tackle the problem as football stars may be targets.
“Sometimes I feel that I should do something myself to help these things, like the organizations around me … like players, and look at their Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.
“We all post photos, we all talk. To say nothing is not a solution. It’s not just footballers, it’s everyone.”
Lukaku also wants social media firms and footballers to come together to come up with a plan to address the problem.
“We should reach out as players and start talking to people who are in charge of social media, athletes, companies and governments.”
It is estimated that around 30 percent of children on social media suffer from cyberbullying.
“It’s not just footballers, it’s everyone, the athletes in general,” Lukaku said. “We need to talk. You need to speak to these people and see how you can help them.”
Earlier this month, Lukaku signed a contract with Adidas, making him the first player to sign a contract for more than a billion dollars with one company.
“They took me to a very unique place,” he said on Monday. “They offered to make me a hero, a marketing superstar, a family man, a man, a legend. It was very, very special.”