Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr responds to derogatory comments

Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior reacts to being insulted pointing at the stands during the Spanish league football match between Valencia CF and Real Madrid CF at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia on May 21, 2023. — AFP 

Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Vinicius Jr was subjected to constant racist abuse during Sunday’s clash against Valencia in Spain’s La Liga. 

The 22-year-old Brazilian, responding to the racism, said that La Liga “belongs to racists”. The incident happened in the second half of the match and was delayed for several minutes. 

The incident was described in the official report by the referee.

“Racist insults: in the 73rd minute, a spectator from the southern ‘Mario Kempes’ tribune directed himself towards player No. 20 of Real Madrid CF Mr Vinicius José De Oliveira Do Nascimiento, screaming at him: ‘Monkey, monkey’ which led to the activation of the racism protocol, notifying the pitch delegate so that a corresponding warning over the loudspeaker would be made. The match was halted until the said announcement was aired over the loudspeaker of the stadium,” it reads.

The star winger also identified the person hurling racist insults at him. 

“It was not the first time, not the second and not the third. Racism is normal in La Liga. The competition thinks it’s normal, the (Spanish) Federation also thinks it’s normal and opponents encourage it,” Vinicius wrote on Instagram on Sunday.

“The league that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano (Ronaldo) and (Leo) Messi, now belongs to racists.

“A beautiful nation, which welcomed me and which I love, but one which has agreed to export the image of a racist country to the world.

“I’m sorry for the Spaniards who don’t agree, but today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists. Unfortunately, for everything that happens every week, I have no way of defending it. I agree.”

La Liga said they were investigating what happened and will take legal action, if necessary, against the perpetrators.

“La Liga has filed complaints (to relevant authorities) on nine occasions in the last two seasons,” said the top flight in a statement.

“La Liga has been fighting against this kind of behaviour for years and promoting the positive values of sport, not only on the pitch but also off it.”

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti also expressed his disappointment over the unfortunate incident.

“The Spanish league has a problem, and Vinicius is not the problem. Vinicius is the victim. There’s a very serious problem,” Ancelotti said, adding that Vinicius was “sad, not angry” after the incidents at Mestalla.

Vinicius also received a straight red in injury time towards the end of the match for hitting Hugo Duro during a brawl.

“The fact I thought about taking him off because of the racist atmosphere does not seem good to me,” Ancelotti told reporters.

“What has happened today has happened before, but not like that, it’s unacceptable.”

— Additional input from AFP

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