Four people arrested on suspicion of hanging the effigy of Vinicius Jr off a bridge in Madrid | world news

Four people suspected of hanging an effigy of Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr from a bridge in the Spanish capital in January have been arrested, police said.

A hate crime investigation has been opened after the effigy was hung with the star’s number 20 shirt from a bridge outside Real Madrid’s training ground.

It hung next to a 16m red and white banner that read ‘Madrid hate Madrid’.

The arrests came days after the Brazilian footballer renewed his attack on La Liga and Spanish authorities – revealing how he has received death threats this season.

Real Madrid filed a hate crime complaint with Spanish prosecutors after the Brazilian player was the target of racial slurs during their 1-0 defeat at Valencia on Sunday.

Valencia say police have identified a fan who made racist gestures at Vinicius Jr and that person faces a lifetime stadium ban from the Mestalla ground.

The lights of Brazil’s iconic Christ the Redeemer statue were turned off for an hour Monday night in solidarity with Vinicius Jr.

The Archdiocesan Shrine, which manages the monument, carried out the act in cooperation with the Brazilian FA and the Observatory of Racial Discrimination in Football.

“The Archdiocesan Shrine of Christ the Redeemer repudiates the racist attacks suffered by Brazilian player Vinicius Jr,” he said.

The lights of the Christ the Redeemer statue have been extinguished in solidarity with Vinicius Jr

“The monument’s lighting will be turned off as a symbol of the collective fight against racism and in solidarity with the player and all those who experience prejudice around the world.”

In his last tweet, the 22-year-old winger highlighted what he described as ‘continuous episodes spread across several cities in Spain’.

He wrote: “Every round away from home is a nasty surprise. And there have been many this season. Death wishes, hanging doll, lots of criminal screams… All signed up.

“But the discourse always falls on ‘isolated cases’, ‘a fan’. No, these are not isolated cases. They are continuous episodes spread over several cities in Spain (and even in a television broadcast).

“The proof is there in the video. Now I ask: how many of these racists have had names and photos exposed on websites? I answer for simplicity: zero.”

He asked what was missing to ‘criminalise these people’ and ‘punish the clubs’, adding: “Why aren’t the sponsors charging La Liga?

“The problem is very serious and the communications are no longer working. Also don’t blame me for justifying criminal acts. You are not football, you are inhuman.”

MadridThe game against Valencia was called off on Sunday night after the half-time break as the Brazilian pointed to supporters who taunted him at the referee.

Vinicius, who has been racially abused from the stands on several occasions this season, was furious, prompting his teammates and opposing players to try to calm him down.

Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior, left, confronts Valencia fans as Antonio Rudiger tries to calm him down during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Valencia and Real Madrid at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia, Spain, Sunday May 21, 2023 Play was temporarily halted when Vinicius said a fan insulted him from the stands.  He was later sent off after facing Valencia players.  (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)
Vinicius Jr (L) confronts Valencia fans as Real Madrid team-mate Antonio Rudiger tries to calm him down

He tweeted after the game: “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 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 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 be.

“But I am strong and I will go all the way against the racists. Even if it is far from here.”

La Liga president Javier Tebas responded to Vinicius’ message on Sunday accusing the striker of ‘criticizing and insulting’ the league.

In another tweet on Monday, Tebas said: “Neither Spain nor La Liga are racist. It’s very unfair to say that.”

Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr pictured during the Champions League semi-final first leg against Manchester City in Madrid on May 9
Vinicius Jr pictured during the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Manchester City in Madrid on May 9

“The attacks are a hate crime”

In a strong statement, the 22-year-old’s club said: “Real Madrid CF shows its utmost revulsion and condemns the events that took place yesterday against our player Vinicius Jr.

“These facts constitute a direct attack on the model of coexistence of our social and democratic rule of law.

“Real Madrid considers that such attacks also constitute a hate crime, which is why they have filed the corresponding complaint with the State Attorney General’s Office.”


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