Vinícius Júnior was racially insulted again on Sunday when the Brazilian star said the Spanish league “now belongs to racists”.
The most recent insult to Vinícius came during Real Madrid’s 1-0 defeat in Valencia. The game had to be temporarily suspended after the Brazilian striker said he was insulted by a fan behind one of the goals at Mestalla Stadium.
“It wasn’t the first time, nor the second or third. Racism is normal in LaLiga. “The competition considers it normal, as does the federation, and opponents encourage it,” said Vinícius on Instagram and Twitter. “The league that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano (Ronaldo) and (Lionel) Messi now belongs to the racists.” ..But I am strong and I will fight the racists to the end. Even if far away from here.”
Vinícius, 22, a black man, has been subjected to racial slurs since arriving in Spain five years ago.
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti considered replacing Vinícius after saying fans at the Mestalla were shouting “monkeys” at the star. He said Vinícius initially didn’t want to continue playing.
“What happened today shouldn’t happen,” Ancelotti said. “If a stadium yells ‘monkey’ at a player and the manager considers taking him off because of it, it means something bad is going to happen in this league.”
The veteran coach refused to speak about the game after the incident, saying his side’s defeat meant nothing.
“The game should have been stopped,” said Ancelotti. “That should not happen. It wasn’t just one person, as happened in several stages. A player was racially insulted in the stadium and the game had to be abandoned. I would have said the same if it had been 3-0 for us. You have to stop the game, there was no way around it.”
Ancelotti said he told the referee to call off the game, but was told protocol is to first make an announcement to fans and then take other action if the problem persists.
Ancelotti said Vinícius didn’t want to continue playing, but he told the player that he wasn’t at fault and that he was the victim. Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said he would have left the field with Vinicius if the Brazilian had decided to stop playing.
“Vinícius is upset, of course, but more than upset, he’s sad,” said Ancelotti.
According to Spanish media reports, Valencia have identified two fans who allegedly insulted Vinícius behind one of the goals.
Some comments on social media claimed that fans said the Spanish word “tonto” (silly) instead of “mono” (monkey).
Vinícius was later sent off after an altercation with Valencia players and, as he left the field, made a gesture to the home fans about their side’s struggle against relegation. With the 1-0 win, Valencia took a big step to avoid relegation and opened a five-point gap over the last three teams going into the last three rounds.
“The reward for the racists was my expulsion!” Vinícius said on Instagram, along with the Spanish league slogan: “It’s not football, it’s LaLiga.”
Vinícius had called the referee around the 70th minute and started pointing at a person sitting among the Valencia fans. The player went near the stands and confronted the fans while players from both teams tried to restore calm.
Eventually, the police arrived in the stands to deal with the fans. An announcement was made urging fans to behave themselves.
Play at the Mestalla was suspended for around seven minutes and not long after Vinícius clashed with Valencia players and was sent off for pushing one of his opponents away with his hand in front of his face.
After the decision on his expulsion was made after a video meeting, Vinícius began to applaud wryly. As he left the field, he made a “dismount” gesture in reference to relegation. This angered the players on the Valencia bench and some rushed towards Vinícius when he left the field, causing the game to be temporarily suspended again.
Valencia coach Rubén Baraja condemned the behavior of Valencia fans but also criticized Vinícius, saying he should have respected the club and its supporters.
Vinícius’ team-mate Dani Ceballos criticized the fans but said he expected Vinícius to apologize for his gestures after his dismissal.
Ancelotti said Vinícius’ reaction was normal considering what he had been through just before.
The Spanish league said they requested pictures from the game to investigate what happened. Possible insults against Vinícius outside the Mestalla are also explored.
The league has filed nine formal complaints of racial slurs against Vinícius in the last two seasons, many of which have been dropped. A Mallorca fan may face court charges for allegedly racially insulting the Brazilian during a game.
The first trial of a fan accused of racial abuse in Spanish professional football is expected to take place sometime this year. It’s about Athletic Bilbao forward Iñaki Williams, who was insulted by an Espanyol fan in a game in 2020.
Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni
More AP football: and