Former Napoli striker Roberto Sosa says that defender Juan Jesus feels “awful” about the controversy between he and Inter Milan’s Francesco Acerbi.

Sosa related what Jesus had told him in an interview with Italian broadcaster TVPlay, via FCInterNews. He said that the Brazilian deeply regrets how things have blown up into a firestorm.

During the match between Inter and Napoli earlier this month, it wasn’t immediately obvious that there would be any controversy.

It was certainly evident right away that Partenopei defender Jesus was upset about something.

The 32-year-old went over to referee Federico La Penna. The match official spoke to both he and Inter defender Acerbi.

And even immediately after the match, Jesus did not say anything to inflame the situation.

The former Inter and Roma defender stated that he wanted it to “stay on the pitch.” He said that Acerbi had apologized to him, and that he accepted the Nerazzurri player’s apology.

Sosa: Juan Jesus Feels “Awful” About Inter Racism Row

It was only after the match, however, that it was revealed that Jesus had complained to La Penna of Acerbi allegedly using a racial slur towards him.

And then, the 36-year-old Inter defender denied it the following day.

It was at this point that Jesus responded angrily. The Napoli defender was absolutely vehement that Acerbi had changed his story.

Jesus also reacted angrily to the not guilty verdict for Acerbi. He continues to insist that the Italian international had initially apologized for using racially discriminatory language, and that subsequent denials are lies.

Former Napoli striker Sosa said of Jesus that “I shouldn’t say it, but I had the chance to message with him.”

“He feels awful, because he’s such a good guy that he didn’t want to create all this fuss,” Sosa said.

“He wanted everything to stay on the pitch.”

The former Napoli striker added that “He even wanted to protect Francesco Acerbi and Inter.”