Vinicius Junior
Vinicius Junior has been target of constant racial abuse, and the Valencia game was just tip of the iceberg. Credits: Twitter

The game between Valencia and Real Madrid was stopped when racial abuse was aimed towards away player Vinicius Junior, and fans inside Valencia’s Mestalla stadium were cautioned against such behaviour. This season, Spanish fans have racially disparaged the forward, drawing harsh criticism from other players.

Back in February, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp expressed his outrage at a reporter’s line of questions by responding that “nothing in the world” could excuse such abuse. And after the incident at Mestalla, Vinicius Junior too took it to Twitter to slam La Liga, who have evidently failed to curb repeated incidents of racism.

Vinicius Junior
Vinicius Junior pointing towards those from the Valencia crowd who were shouting racist chants at him. Credits: Twitter

Racism is normal in La Liga – Vinicius Junior laments Spanish top flight

When Vinicius Junior called attention to home supporters who had been racially abusing him, the clash at Mestalla was put on hold for a while. The game ultimately resumed after a brief suspension, as Vinicius Junior was sent off in the last seconds of the second half for hitting Valencia’s Hugo Duro and Real Madrid lost 1-0.

The Athletic claims that after the game ended, a message was announced over the tannoy, which stated “racist behaviour from certain spectators would not be tolerated”. After being victim to racial abuse a number of times this season, Vinicius Junior took it to social media to claim that Spain is becoming known as a racist nation. He wrote:

“It wasn’t the first time, nor the second, nor the third. Racism is normal in La Liga. The competition thinks it’s normal, the Federation does too and the opponents encourage it. I’m so sorry. The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi today belongs to racists.

Vinicius Junior
On top of racial abuse, Vinicius Junior was later sent-off for a controversial red card. Credits: Twitter

“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 everything that happens each week, I have no defense. I agree. But I am strong and I will go to the end against racists. Even if far from here.”

Later, Vinicius Junior posted a copy of the match’s referee report from La Liga on Instagram, but it didn’t appear to include any of the racial epithets he had to endure. After the game, Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti spoke out in favour of the 22-year-old, saying that the abuse needed to stop and acknowledging that he had thought about taking Vinicius out due to it.

Throughout this season, the winger has frequently been the target of racial taunts. At least eight legal complaints of racist abuses against him have already been made by La Liga. This year, he has been attacked by the fans of Osasuna, Atletico Madrid, Real Valladolid, and Real Mallorca. The Brazil star has encouraged the authorities to do more to combat racism and start ‘punishing’ the abusers.