Four people have been arrested in Spain for hanging an effigy of Vinicius from a bridge in January less than 24 hours after Real Madrid filed a hate crime complaint for racist abuse during the La Liga clash with Valencia at the Mestalla.
The 22-year-old winger claimed ‘racism is normal’ in La Liga and described it as a competition
that ‘belongs to racists’ after suffering a torrent of abuse on Sunday. He also said that his native
Brazil considers Spain a ‘country of racists’ as a result of the treatment he has consistently
been on the receiving end of.
In January, a group of Atletico Madrid fans hung an effigy of Vinicius from a bridge below a
banner that read ‘Madrid hates Real’. There was widespread condemnation at the time, with
Los Blancos calling for the culprits to be brought to justice, but no arrests had been made
The abuse of Vinicius at Valencia, meanwhile, continued despite the Brazilian informing officials
at the time of what was being chanted from the stands.
The game was stopped at one point, which appeared to incense the crowd further, and Vinicius
was sent off in stoppage time when his frustrations boiled over when grabbed around the
throat by a Valencia player.
Vinicius wasn’t happy with the response from La Liga president Javier Tebas, who was critical
of the player rather than condemning the racists. But Gianni Infantino offered the ‘full solidarity’
of FIFA, while Valencia pledged to take the ‘most severe measures against the perpetrators.
Real have released their own statement, making clear their belief that what happened at the Mestalla was a hate crime, describing their ‘strongest revulsion’ and the incident as a direct attack on the coexistence model of our social and democratic state of law’.