Vinícius Júnior says that Spain is racist after the abuses in LaLiga


La Liga said it would take appropriate measures if crimes are discovered, although its president also criticized the player’s response.

Valencia said monday that police had identified a fan who made racist gestures and were using images to identify the others.

“The club strongly condemns this type of conduct, which has no place in football or in society,” he said, adding that those responsible would be punished for life.

Vinícius has suffered racist abuse throughout his time in Spain, where he moved as a teenage prodigy five years ago.

“It was not the first time, nor the second, nor the third. Racism is normal in LaLiga,” Vinícius published on Twitter after the game.

He compared the ugliness of the abuse he faced to the sublime skills of famous names who have graced La Liga over the years, including Brazilian superstars Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, Argentine hero Lionel Messi and Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo.

The league that once belonged to them “now belongs to the racists,” he said. “But I am strong and I will fight to the end against racists. Even if it’s far from here.

He said that Spain was “a beautiful nation, which welcomed me and the one I love, but which agreed to export to the world the image of a racist country. I am sorry for the Spanish who disagree, but today, in Brazil, Spain is known like a country of racists”.

Vinicius reacted to the insult from the crowd on Sunday, confronting the fans as players from both teams sought to regain their cool.Alberto Saiz / AP

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, widely known as Lula, jumped in support of the player.

“I would like to express my solidarity with our Brazilian player, a poor boy who succeeded in life and who is potentially becoming one of the best players in the world, without a doubt the best at Real Madrid. And they attack him in every stadium he plays in,” he told reporters at a news conference Sunday at the G-7 summit in Japan.

Lula added that he hopes soccer’s governing bodies “take measures so that we don’t allow racism and fascism to take over.”

Other officials and players from Brazil and beyond spoke out against the abuse.

Legendary Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti told reporters in a post-match interview that he would not discuss events on the pitch. “What we saw today is unacceptable: a whole stadium shouting racist insults,” he said, adding that he had told the referee that he should have stopped the game.

Luis Rubiales, president of Spanish soccer’s governing body RFEF, said on Monday that he agreed with Vinícius that the country does have a problem with racism.

Vinicius Football Racism
Vinícius Jr. during the game on Sunday at the Mestalla Stadium in Valencia.Alberto Saiz / AP

But not everyone was so supportive.

“Before criticizing and slandering LaLiga, you must be well informed @Vinijr,” the president of the league, Javier Tebas, wrote on Twitter.

He accused the player of attacking the league without fully understanding what it had been doing to combat racism and said Vinícius failed to show up for two meetings he had requested with league officials to discuss the matter.

The league has filed nine formal complaints of racist abuse against Vinícius in the last two seasons, and many of the cases have been dropped. A Mallorca fan may end up going to trial after allegedly racially insulting the Brazilian during a match.

A mannequin wearing Vinícius’ number 20 shirt was hung from a bridge outside Real Madrid’s training facility ahead of a key game against Atlético Madrid in January. Police said at the time they were investigating the incident.

The Brazilian star, whose full name is Vinícius José Paixão de Oliveira Júnior, is one of the brightest talents in world soccer, known for his dazzling tricks and ball control. This season he has scored 23 goals in 54 appearances, even as his team suffered a disappointing campaign.

Racism directed at black players has been widely denounced across Europe in recent years.

The England men’s national soccer team, featuring several prominent young black players, has decided to leave the field of play in the event of racist abuse.

England did exactly that while playing Bulgaria in 2019, although his own fans were also criticized for racially abusing English players after the team’s defeat in the Euro 2020 final.

Associated Press contributed.

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