Team Real honours Vinicius after racial abuse
Vinícius was shown a red card for an altercation in the match against Valencia on Sunday, but the card was later rescinded.
MADRID: With Vinícius Júnior watching from the stands, Rodrygo scored the winning goal and raised his fist in solidarity with his Real Madrid and Brazil teammate.
It was one of the many tributes to Vinícius in Madrid’s first game since the latest case of racial abuse against the player, who considered leaving the field Sunday after being insulted by Valencia fans.
“All the support for Vini was beautiful,” said Rodrygo, whose late goal gave Madrid a 2-1 win over Rayo Vallecano in the Spanish league on Wednesday. “What happened to him can happen to many players. We know that it has happened a lot of times in football. But we are happy because we see that the world is uniting to fight this.”
The show of support came a day after Spanish police arrested seven people on suspicion of hate crime and after Valencia was fined and ordered to partially close its stadium for five games.
Vinícius was not on the field because of a minor injury, but his Real Madrid teammates all came out wearing his No. 20 jersey before kickoff. “Love you,” Vinícius said after the game in a tweet that included a photo of his teammates behind him at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Wearing street clothes, Vinícius came out briefly before the match to salute the fans as Madrid players lined up with their backs to the stands showing his jersey. Vinícius watched the match alongside club president Florentino Pérez.
In the 20th minute, fans applauded and chanted his name. The Brazilian stood up and saluted back from the VIP section.
Outside the stadium, many fans arrived displaying messages condemning racism and praising Vinícius, who is Black. Inside, a huge banner was displayed behind one of the goals with the words “We are all Vinicius. Enough is enough.”
As part of a new anti-racism campaign by the Spanish league, the Spanish soccer federation and the government, a banner with the words “racists out of football” was held by players from both squads before the match. Players from both teams wore armbands with anti-racism messages. Slogans against racism were shown during the national and international broadcast of the game.
Vinícius, who on Sunday was subjected to yet another case of racial abuse, didn’t play because of what the club said was a minor knee problem.
Vinícius was shown a red card for an altercation in the match against Valencia on Sunday, but the card was later rescinded.Vinícius was shown a red card for an altercation in the match against Valencia on Sunday, but the card was later rescinded.