But it has now transpired that Dani Alves’ decision to pick up a banana hurled in his direction from the stands and munch it in nonchalant defiance was not quite what it seemed.
Not only had the Barcelona full-back plotted the gesture in advance with team-mate Neymar, but the Brazilian pair’s plan had been carefully choreographed by advertising and marketing companies.
That might explain why fellow football stars including Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Italy’s Mario Balotelli and even Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff so quickly mobilised to show their support on Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtag #weareallmonkeys and its Portuguese equivalent #somostodosmacacos.
It is undoubtedly the reason why T-shirts bearing those hashtags alongside a picture of a banana are already on sale for €25 (£21) each.
So sure were the professionals behind the campaign that it would be a success, they ordered thousands printed in advance.
“Actions speak louder than words. A gesture needs no translation and what we’re seeing is that this has gone viral, globally,” said Guga Ketzer of Loducca, the advertising agency that worked with Neymar’s camp on the initiative.
“The best way to beat prejudice is to take the sting out of the racist action so it isn’t repeated.
“We created #somostodosmacacos and #weareallmonkeys, with the gesture of eating a banana, and it has been turned into a movement.”
The plan, Ketzer added, had originally been for Neymar, the higher profile player, to eat the banana but that Alves had taken the opportunity when a spectator threw it his way as he prepared to take a corner at Villarreal.