Milan striker Andrii Shevchenko has urged Italian football supporters to get a sense of perspective following an attack by fans on two Inter players.

The assault on Javier and Cristiano Zanetti has shocked observers and led to calls for change in the football culture in Italy.

“We have to look to the future, if it carries on like this then we will end up like the gladiators of ancient Rome – if you lose you get torn to pieces,” Shevchenko told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“The fans have the right to protest but it is out of order to attack people. Whoever plays this game gives all they can and tries to win, I am convinced of that. I don’t know of any footballers who play for any other reason.”

Shevchenko said the problem was linked to a lack of perspective from many in the game.

“I don’t understand it – if you win then you are a superstar and if you lose you are a cretin – it happens at Inter, to us, at Juventus and others,” he added.

“It’s not like that in Ukraine or in other countries I know that. There needs to be a sense of balance from everyone.

With Inter due to face Milan on Friday, Shevchenko asked for calm ahead of the game.

“This derby will be a game like many others, I’m sure of that. It is important for us and important for Inter but let’s not have it described as the ‘last chance’ – why is it the last chance?” he asked.

“The club directors need to avoid raising the team to the stars and then dropping them down to earth. They need to maintain some balance – as do journalists.”

Subscribe to World Soccer – The essential football magazine.