Real Madrid has lodged a formal complaint with the Spanish prosecutor’s office, claiming that its Brazilian forward Vinícius Júnior was racially abused by Valencia supporters before and during their match on Sunday.
The club alleges that the chants directed at Vinícius amounted to a “hate crime” and strongly condemned the incidents in a statement.
Vinícius, who is Black, expressed his frustration on Twitter, saying that racism is normal in La Liga and that the league, the federation, and the opponents do nothing to stop it.
“The league that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano (Ronaldo) and (Lionel) Messi now belongs to racists … But I’m strong and I will fight until the end against the racists. Even if far from here,” he wrote.
The 22-year-old has faced repeated racist insults since he moved to Spain five years ago.
Brazil’s President Lula demands action against “fascism and racism” in stadiums Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva denounced the racist insults against Vinícius on Monday and called for action against “fascism and racism” in stadiums.
“He was attacked. He was called a monkey,” Lula said angrily during a press conference in Hiroshima (Japan), after attending a G7 summit as a guest.
“It is not possible, in the middle of the 21st century, to have such strong racial prejudices in so many football stadiums”, he added, expressing his “solidarity” with the Brazilian striker.
Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti considered taking Vinícius off the field after he heard fans at Mestalla shouting “monkey” at him. He said Vinícius initially didn’t want to continue playing.
“What happened today shouldn’t happen,” Ancelotti said. “When a stadium yells ‘monkey’ to a player, and the coach considers taking him out of the field because of that, it means that there is something bad in this league.”
The veteran coach refused to talk about the game after what happened, saying his team’s loss meant nothing.
“The game should have been stopped,” Ancelotti said. “This shouldn’t happen. It wasn’t only one person, as it has happened in several stadiums. Here, it was a stadium racially insulting a player, the game had to stop. I would have said the same thing if it was 3-0 for us. You have to stop the game, there was no way around it.”
Ancelotti said he asked the referee to stop the match, but was told that the protocol was to first make an announcement to fans, then take other action if the problem continued.
Ancelotti said Vinícius didn’t want to keep playing but he told the player that he wasn’t guilty of anything and that he was the victim. Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said he would have left the field with Vinicius if his teammate had decided to stop playing.
“Vinícius is upset, obviously, but more than upset, he is sad,” Ancelotti said.
According to Spanish media reports, Valencia has identified two fans who allegedly insulted Vinícius behind one of the goals.
Some comments on social media claimed fans were saying the Spanish word “tonto” (silly) instead of “mono” (monkey).