In a recent La Liga match between Real Madrid and Valencia. Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior was subjected to racial abuse by a fan. The incident occurred during Real Madrid’s 1-0 defeat to Valencia. The racial abuse prompted a temporary stoppage of the game for approximately 10 minutes. Vinicius identified the fan behind the Valencia goal and alerted the referee, Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea. Who then activated the anti-racism protocol in Spanish football.
Expressing his frustration, Vinicius Junior took to Instagram to condemn the incident. Stating, “It wasn’t the first time, or the second, or the third. Racism is normal in La Liga.” He criticized the competition, the Spanish Football Federation, and even some opponents for allegedly tolerating and encouraging such behaviour. Vinicius further expressed his disappointment in the nation. Which he once admired, for exporting the image of a racist country to the world.
The incident has reportedly pushed Vinicius to his limit. Sources close to the player suggest that his representatives have considered the possibility of him leaving the club due to repeated instances of abuse. However, it is clarified that he is not currently contemplating a departure from Real Madrid.
LaLiga issued a statement acknowledging the incident and affirming that they are investigating the matter. The league pledged to take appropriate legal action if they identify a hate crime. Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti also supported Vinicius. Emphasizing that La Liga has a problem with racism and that the league should halt matches in the face of racist incidents.
Vinicius’ frustration escalated during the match, leading to his sending off in the 97th minute following a clash with Valencia substitute Hugo Duro. He then engaged in a confrontation with the Valencia bench. Making a gesture implying their potential relegation to the second division.
The recurring racist abuse faced by Vinicius has been documented in previous seasons, with formal complaints filed by La Liga after incidents at various stadiums, including Mallorca, Real Valladolid, Atletico Madrid, and Barcelona. The player has expressed dissatisfaction with the actions taken to address the issue.
Footballers have supported Vinicius. Thibaut Courtois said he would leave the field with Vinicius if he refused to play due to such harassment. Valencia captain Jose Gaya denounced the slurs and hoped for retribution.