‘Racism is normal in La Liga,’ says Vinicius Jr as Real Madrid star makes powerful statement after Valencia fans abuse
Vinicius Jr says La Liga is ‘the championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi now belongs to the racists’.
The Real Madrid striker made the claims after a game which saw him sent off in stoppage time by the referee after a VAR check for punching Valencia’s Hugo Duro in the face.
A scrum broke out in the Valencia box after Yunus Mussa failed to return the ball to a Real Madrid side looking for an equaliser.
Vinicius Jr was in the thick of the action and brought down Duro, however, replays show the Valencia striker had his arm around his opponent’s neck moments before.
After seeing the red, Vinicius Jr sarcastically applauded the decision and motioned for the referee to be grabbed by the neck.
The 22-year-old had to be physically restrained by his Los Blancos teammates as he was greeted with a chorus of boos as he walked away.
Just before leaving the pitch, Vinicius Jr could be seen raising his fingers suggesting that Valencia are on their way to LaLiga2.
The incident came minutes after Vinicius Jr was targeted with chants from sections of the crowd at the Estadio Mestalla. The player physically grabbed the referee and pointed him at the fans who abused him.
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It’s unclear what the player was told, however, Vinicius Jr says he was racially abused.
He has faced racial abuse on several occasions this season and throughout his career and said in a powerful post-match statement that racism was “normal” in Spain’s top flight.
He tweeted after the match: “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 too – and the opponent encourages it.
“I’m so sad. The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano (Ronaldo) and (Lionel) Messi now belongs to racism.
“A beautiful nation, which welcomed me and which I love, but which agreed to export the image of a racist country in 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 every week, I have no defense. I let it happen.
“But I am strong and I will go all the way against the racists. Even if it is far from here.
Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti added on Twitter: “Today was a sad day at Mestalla, where a group of fans showed their worst version. It’s time to stop talking and act with strength. Racism can have no place in football or in society. NO TO RACISM ANYWHERE.
Meanwhile, Valencia have issued a statement confirming that an investigation into the attack on Vinicius Jr has been opened.
“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 the stadiums and regrets the events that occurred during the match of the 35th day of La Liga against Real Madrid.
“Although this is an isolated episode, insulting a player from the rival team has no place in football and does not correspond to the values and identity of Valencia CF.
“The club is investigating what happened and will take the most severe measures. Likewise, Valencia CF condemns any infringement and also asks for the utmost respect for our supporters.
“Apart from these isolated incidents, Valencia CF would like to thank the more than 46,000 fans for their help and support for the team during the match on Sunday 21 May.”
Ancelotti’s men fell to a 1-0 defeat, a result which means they are now third in La Liga behind champions Barcelona and local rivals Atletico Madrid.