Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior has claimed racism is “normal” in Spain’s top league after fans allegedly targeted him with abusive chants.
The match at Valencia’s Mestalla pitch was called off after half-time as the 22-year-old flagged the taunting fans to the referee.
Vinicius, who has been racially abused from the stands on several occasions this season, was clearly furious, prompting his teammates and opposing players to try to calm him down.
The Brazilian was later sent off for violent conduct in injury time of his side’s 1-0 loss following an altercation with Valencia striker Hugo Duro – the first red card of his career.
In a statement on Instagram after the game, Vinicius referred to previous instances of racist abuse and accused Spanish football authorities of not doing enough.
“It wasn’t the first time, nor the second or the third. Racism is normal in La Liga,” he said.
“The competition thinks it’s normal, the Federation and the opponents are also encouraging it. I’m really sorry.”
“La Liga belongs to the racists”
Vinicius says the Spanish league, which once ‘belonged’ to star players like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, ‘now belongs to the racists’.
“Sorry for the Spaniards who disagree, but today in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists,” he added.
“And unfortunately, with everything that happens every week, I have no way to defend myself. I agree.”
Club Vow Survey
La Liga issued their own statement, saying they have been ‘fighting this type of behavior for years’.
Valencia also issued a statement on their club’s website, pledging to investigate what happened and to ‘take the most severe measures’.
“Valencia CF wishes to publicly condemn any type of insult, attack or disqualification in football,” he added.
Some 46,000 fans were in attendance for Sunday’s game, which saw Valencia move up to 13th in the table and Madrid remain third – 14 points behind rivals and champions Barcelona.
Diego Lopez scored the game’s only goal in the 33rd minute for the home side.