Vinicius Jr says LaLiga is ‘the championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi today belongs to racists.’
The Real Madrid forward made these claims after a match which saw him get sent off in stoppage-time by the referee after a VAR check for hitting Valencia’s Hugo Duro in the face.
A melee broke out in the Valencia box after Yunus Mussa didn’t give the ball back to a Real Madrid side chasing an equaliser.
Vinicius Jr was in the thick of the action and sent Duro down, however, replays show the Valencia striker had his arm round the neck of his opponent moments before.
After being shown the red, Vinicius Jr sarcastically applauded the decision and gestured to the referee about being grabbed round the neck.
The 22-year-old had to be physically restrained by Los Blancos teammates as he was met with a chorus of boos when he trudged off.
Just before he made his way off the pitch, Vinicius Jr could be seen holding his fingers up suggesting that Valencia were on their way down to LaLiga2.
The incident came minutes after Vinicius Jr was targeted by chants from sections of the crowd at the Estadio Mestalla. The player physically grabbed the referee and pointed towards the fans that abused him.
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It’s not clear what was said to the player, however, Vinicius Jr says he was racially abused.
He has been the victim of racial abuse on multiple occasions this season and throughout his career and said in a powerful statement post-match that racism is ‘normal’ in Spain’s top flight.
He tweeted after the game: “It wasn’t the first time, nor the second, nor the third. Racism is normal in LaLiga. 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 [Ronaldo] and [Lionel] Messi today belongs to racism.
“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 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.”
Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti added on Twitter: “Today has been a sad day at Mestalla, where a group of fans have shown their worst version. It is time to stop talking and act forcefully. Racism cannot have a place in football or in society. NO TO RACISM ANYWHERE.”
Meanwhile, Valencia issued a statement confirming an investigation into the attack on Vinicius Jr has been launched.
“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 during the LaLiga matchday 35 match against Real Madrid.
“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. In the same way, Valencia CF condemns any offence and also requests the utmost respect for our fans.
“Apart from these isolated incidents, Valencia CF would like to thank the more than 46,000 fans for their assistance and support for the team in the game this Sunday, May 21.”
Ancelotti’s men fell to a 1-0 defeat, a result which means they are now third in LaLiga behind champions Barcelona and local rivals Atletico Madrid.