Vinicius Jr was subject to racist abuse during Real Madrid’s 1-0 defeat to Valencia on Sunday; it is not the first time the 22-year-old has been abused this season; Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has called for action; Valencia have apologised in a statement
Vinicius Jr says “racism is normal in LaLiga” and that “the championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi today belongs to racists” after once again being subjected to racist chants on Sunday.
The Brazil international was targeted by chants from sections of the crowd at the Mestalla stadium during Real Madrid’s 1-0 loss to Valencia.
The game was stopped in the second half for 10 minutes as the visibly angry 22-year-old grabbed the referee and pointed toward fans who he felt had abused him.
Vinicius Jr was later sent off for violent conduct in added time following an altercation with striker Hugo Duro.
He tweeted after the game: “It wasn’t the first time, nor the second, nor the third. Racism is normal in LaLiga. In football they thinks it’s normal, the federation does too – and the opponent encourages it. I’m so sad. The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi today belongs to racism.
“A beautiful nation, which welcomed me and which I love, but which 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. And unfortunately, for something that happens each week, I have no defence. I let it happen. But I am strong and I will go to the end against racists. Even if it is far from here.”
LaLiga will request all available images in order to investigate what took place in light of the incident. “If any hate crime is identified, we will take the appropriate legal action,” the league said in a statement.
The Spanish league has previously lodged complaints of racist chanting or insults against Vinicius Jr, the latest of which was a claim before a court in Mallorca after fans were filmed racially abusing the forward.
Spanish police are also investigating a possible hate crime against Vinicius Jr after a mannequin wearing his number 20 shirt was hung from a bridge outside Real Madrid’s training ground in January.
Ancelotti: The game should have been stopped
Speaking after the game, Vinicius Jr’s manager Carlo Ancelotti said the abuse aimed at his player was unacceptable and told the referee that the game should have been stopped.
“What we saw today is unacceptable. An entire stadium chanting racist slurs,” the Real Madrid boss said.
“I don’t want to talk about football today, there is no meaning in talking about football today. I told the referee he should have stopped the match.
“LaLiga has a problem. For me Vinicius is the most important player in the world. LaLiga has a problem, these episodes of racism have to stop the match.
“It’s the entire stadium that is insulting a player with racist chants and the match has to stop. I would say the same if we were winning 3-0, there is no other way.”
Ancelotti later added on Twitter: “Today has been a sad day at Mestalla, where a group of fans have shown their worst version. It is time to stop talking and act forcefully. Racism cannot have a place in football or in society. NO TO RACISM ANYWHERE.”
Valencia director expects Ancelotti apology
Responding to the statements made by Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti after the game between the two sides, Valencia Corporate Director and Spokesperson, Javier Solís, said: “In light of the unfortunate and completely incorrect statements by Mr Ancelotti, in which he branded all of the fans at Mestalla as racist, the club cannot tolerate this.
“We reject these complaints head-on. Possibly it is the result of a mistake in the language, and he must have understood another word as being said.
“The club condemn any type of racist insults and are working to identify the people who allegedly made a gesture or action, but calling all the Valencia CF fans racist is nonsense and the club cannot remain silent.
“We understand that when Ancelotti realises the mistake he has made and the very serious statements he has made, he should apologise, in the same way that both the coach and I condemn any racist insult. In the same way, when he realises the mistake he has made, he should apologise.”
Valencia earlier released a statement on their club website condemning what happened and confirming they will investigate.
“Valencia CF wish to publicly condemn insults and attacks of all kinds in football.
“The club have a firm commitment to the values of respect and sportsmanship and reiterate our position against physical and verbal violence in stadiums. Thus, we are saddened by the events that occurred during the LaLiga Matchday 35 match against Real Madrid.
“Although this is an isolated episode, insults to any opposing player have no place in football and do not fit with the values and identity of Valencia CF. The club are investigating what occurred and will take the most severe measures against the perpetrators. Valencia CF also condemn any offence and request the utmost respect for our fans.
“Whilst strongly denouncing these isolated incidents, Valencia CF would like to thank the more than 46,000 fans in attendance for their support for the team.”
Lewis: Spanish football is in crisis
Darren Lewis: “It’s all very well for clubs to come out, like Valencia have done, and apologise after the event but the fact is that action isn’t being taken, not just to protect someone of the calibre of a Vinicius Jr, but also Black players in general and that’s the reason why Vinicius Jr says Spain is seen as a country of racists.
“Sport is not a forum for young men to be racially abused on the basis of the colour of their skin. If they are in a situation like that the only way they will retain their power is to walk from the field of play because when Black players walk from the field of play the game will start to listen. Black men do not go to work in 2023 to be racially abused.
“Spanish football is in crisis because it cannot handle this and the trite apologies after a situation like this one are not good enough.”
Ferdinand: Why are authorities not helping Vini Jnr?
Former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand took to Instagram in support of Vinicius and questioned player protection.
“Bro you need protecting….who is protecting Vinicius Junior in Spain??” Ferdinand posted.