Vinicius Junior said La Liga “belongs to racists” after suffering vile abuse on Sunday during Real Madrid’s 1-0 defeat at Valencia. The 22-year-old Brazilian winger faced off with home supporters and pointed directly to one after racist insults during the second half. Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said he heard monkey chants near the start of the game, while Los Blancos coach Carlo Ancelotti said there was “a racist atmosphere” at Mestalla.
“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.
“A beautiful nation, which welcomed me and which I love, but which accepted to export to the world the image of a racist country. I am sorry for those Spaniards who disagree but today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists.
“I am strong and I will go all the way against the racists. Even if it is far away from here,” he added.
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,” it said in a statement.
LaLiga president Javier Tebas responded to Vinicius Jr’s comments by asking him to be more informed about what can be done in cases of racism.
“Since those who should explain to you what it is and what LaLiga can do in cases of racism, we have tried to explain it ourselves, but you have not shown up for either of the two agreed dates that you requested yourself,” he said on Twitter.
“Before you criticise and slander LaLiga you need to inform yourself properly @Vinijr. Don’t let yourself be manipulated and make sure you understand each other’s competences and the work we have been doing together,” he added.
MESSAGES OF SUPPORT
Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva expressed his support for the player and called on soccer’s world governing body FIFA to stop racism in football.
“I would like to express my solidarity with our Brazilian player, a poor boy who succeeded in life and is potentially becoming one of the best players in the world, certainly the best at Real Madrid. And he is attacked in every stadium he plays in,” he told a press conference.
“I think it is important that FIFA, the Spanish league and leagues in other countries take real action, because we cannot allow fascism and racism to dominate football stadiums.”