Real Madrid report hate crime after Vinicius Jr targeted with racist abuse during Valencia match

22 May 2023, 09:11 | Updated: 22 May 2023, 15:10

Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr has accused Spain of being a racist country
Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr has accused Spain of being a racist country. Picture: ViaPlay
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Real Madrid has reported a hate crime to the Spanish prosecutor's office after Vinicius Junior was subjected to racist abuse during Sunday's match with Valencia.

"Real Madrid shows its strongest revulsion and condemns the events that took place yesterday against our player Vinicius Junior," the club said.

"These facts constitute a direct attack on the coexistence model of our social and democratic state of law."

The incident happened near the end of a game between Real Madrid and Valencia in La Liga on Sunday after one of the players appeared to kick away the ball with minutes left on the clock.

Vinicius was shown a red card after getting embroiled in the physical confrontation with Valencia players, raising his hand to Hugo Duro's face. Vinicius was also put in a headlock.

He also claims to have been the victim of alleged racial abuse by opposing fans during the incident, with chants seemingly directed at Vinicius in the stands.

Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior, center, leaves the pitch after being shown a red card
Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior, center, leaves the pitch after being shown a red card. Picture: Alamy

The Brazilian footballer has been met with support from those within the football industry, including Gary Lineker, who was a presenter at the game.

He said: "Once again, the player being abused is the only person to be punished."

Ex-Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand has also expressed concern over the incident, tweeting: "How many times do we need to see this young man subjected to this s***?"

"Bro you need protecting....who is protecting Vinicius Junior in Spain??" Ferdinand added.

"He receives a red card after being choked and receiving racial abuse during the game."

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Speaking after the game, Vinicius Jr said: "It wasn't the first time, nor the second, nor the third.

"Racism is normal in La Liga. In football, they think 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."

Real Madrid's head coach Carlo Ancelotti remonstrates with referee Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea
Real Madrid's head coach Carlo Ancelotti remonstrates with referee Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea. Picture: Alamy

He continued: "A beautiful nation, which welcomed me and 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."

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Vinicius' manager Carlo Ancelotti came out in support of his player after the game, telling reporters: "I don't want to talk about football today, there is no meaning in talking about football today.

"What we saw today is unacceptable. An entire stadium chanting racist slurs, I told the referee that he should have stopped the match."

He added: "LaLiga have a problem here. 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.

"Vinicius is very sad, he is angry. Something like this can't happen in the world we live in."

"If any hate crime is identified, we will take the appropriate legal action," La Liga said in a statement.

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Real Madrid's head coach Carlo Ancelotti
Real Madrid's head coach Carlo Ancelotti. Picture: Alamy

Valencia has released a statement, saying the club wished to "publicly condemn insults and attacks of all kinds in football".

But the club's corporate director and spokesperson Javier Solís said he wished to address "completely incorrect statements by Mr Ancellotti" as "he branded all of the fans" as racist.

Mr 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."

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