‘La Liga belongs to racists’ – Vinicius after Valencia abuse
Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior said “La Liga belongs to racists” after being subjected to racist chants at Valencia.
The 22-year-old was dismissed for violent conduct on 97 minutes after an altercation with Hugo Duro.
Earlier in the game, an incensed Vinicius attempted to bring a Valencia fan to the referee’s attention.
“The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi today belongs to racists,” he wrote on Instagram.
“It wasn’t the first time, nor the second, nor the third. Racism is normal in La Liga. The competition thinks it’s normal, the Federation does too and the opponents encourage it.
“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 everything that happens each week, I have no defence. I agree. But I am strong and I will go to the end against racists. Even if far from here.”
In a statement, La Liga said it has been “fighting against this kind of behaviour for years, as well as promoting the positive values of sport, not only on the field of play, but also off it”.
‘An entire stadium chanting racist slurs’
The Brazil forward has been the subject of racist abuse numerous times this season in La Liga.
The game was momentarily paused in the second half as the Real forward reacted angrily to an incident in the stands.
He was fired up from that moment and was sent off for the first time in La Liga for his involvement in an altercation between the two sets of players.
His manager Carlo Ancelotti said the game should have been stopped because of the abuse directed at his player.
“What we saw today is unacceptable. An entire stadium chanting racist slurs,” the Italian 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.
“La Liga has a problem. For me Vinicius is the most important player in the world. La Liga 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 said Vinicius’ reaction was “understandable” in the circumstances.
“I asked him if he wanted to keep playing, and he stayed in the game,” the former Milan midfielder added.
“Vinicius is very sad, he is angry. Something like this can’t happen in the world we live in.”
La Liga has said it will investigate the incident while Valencia released a statement on their website condemning it and confirming they will investigate.
“Valencia CF wishes to publicly condemn any type of insult, attack or disqualification in football,” the statement read.
“The club, in its commitment to the values of respect and sport, publicly reaffirms its position against physical and verbal violence in stadiums and regrets the events that occurred.
“Although this is an isolated episode, insults to any player from the rival team have no place in football and do not fit in with the values and identity of Valencia CF.
“The club is investigating what happened and will take the most severe measures.”
La Liga said it would take “appropriate legal action” if any hate crime is identified and called on people to submit any relevant footage.
The statement said it had been proactive after previous racist abuse against Vinicius, and had filed nine reports in the last two seasons to legal authorities in Spain.
Former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand questioned how much support Vinicius is receiving in a post on Instagram.
“Bro you need protecting…. who is protecting Vinicius Junior in Spain??” he wrote.
“How many times do we need to see this young man subjected to this? I see pain, I see disgust, I see him needing help… and the authorities don’t help him.
“People need to stand together and demand more from the authorities that run our game.
“No-one deserves this, yet you are allowing it. There needs to be a unified approach to this otherwise it will be swept under the carpet AGAIN.”
Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said he heard some “monkey noises” after 20 minutes and said he would have walked off with Vinicius if his team-mate chose to stop playing.
“If Vini wants to keep playing, we keep playing, but if Vini says he’s not playing any more, I’m leaving the pitch with him, because we cannot tolerate these things,” Courtois told Movistar.
Brazilian football federation (CBF) president Ednaldo Rodrigues also expressed his disgust with the incident.
“How long are we going to experience, in the middle of the 21st century, episodes like the one we just witnessed, once again, in La Liga?” he wrote in a statement released by the CBF on Instagram.
“How long will humanity remain just a spectator and an accomplice in cruel acts of racism?”
Diego Lopez got the only goal of the game in the 33rd minute for the home side.