Vinícius Junior is enough.
The Real Madrid forward, a magnet for racist chants from Spanish stadiums over the past two seasons, took to social media on Sunday after the latest attack against him, when he was called a monkey by fans in Valencia. This time, he targeted not only his abusers, but Spain as well.
“It’s not the first time, it’s not the second time, it’s not the third time,” Vinicius Jr. wrote in his post. Twitter And Instagram Accounts. “Racism is normal in La Liga. The competition thinks it’s normal, the federation does, and opponents encourage it. Spain, he said, is known in his home country of Brazil as a “country of racists”.
On Sunday, Vinicius Jr. was chanted “mono” – monkey – by fans. Before he got off the Real Madrid bus Outside the Mestalla stadium in Valencia. The match was briefly halted in the 71st minute when he pointed out some of his abusers to the referee, and an anti-racism statement – part of the league’s protocol for such incidents – was read to the crowd over stadium loudspeakers. In the end, it was Vinicius Jr. who played the villain: he received a red card minutes after getting injured in a fight with an opponent who charged at him.
Racial abuse reverberating through Spanish football grounds is neither unusual nor new, but it has been particularly pointed at Vinicius Jr, who has emerged as one of the league’s marquee players since the departures of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
In a statement announcing an investigation into Sunday’s events in Valencia, La Liga admitted as much Nine separate incidents of racist abuse Against Vinicius Jr. in the last two seasons alone. By then, the player had taken to social media, where he wrote that the attacks on him were tarnishing Spain’s reputation around the world.
“A beautiful nation that welcomed me and that I love, but agreed to export the image of a racist country to the world,” he wrote. “I feel sorry for the Spaniards who disagree, but today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists.”
He also suggested that failure to act against racism could result in expulsion from the country.
The reaction to what happened at the Mestalla brought new scrutiny to Spanish soccer’s handling of racism inside its stadiums. In a televised interview immediately after the match, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti responded incredulously when asked to talk about the game. “I don’t want to talk about football,” he said. “I like what happened here.”
In a news conference that followed, local journalists tried to correct Ancelotti’s assessment, saying they had misheard him chanting that the entire stadium was responsible. Officials from Valencia later denied widespread racism in the arena, despite videos appearing online showing large sections of the crowd chanting “mono”. Some reporters reported that most of Ancelotti’s supporters were actually chanting “tonto”, which means funny in Spanish. “Whether it was ‘Mono’ or ‘Tonto’, the referee stopped the game to open a racist protocol,” Ancelotti responded. “He won’t do it if they’re chanting ‘Tonto.’ Talk to the referee.
Within hours, La Liga chief executive Javier Tebas engaged in a back-and-forth exchange with Vinicius Jr. on Twitter. In it, Tebas defended Spain, described the League’s efforts to deal with racist behavior and criticized Vinicius, saying Tebas had failed to discuss the abuse he had received at two meetings.
Debas’ statement led to a furious response from the player.
“Once again, instead of criticizing racists, the president of La Liga appears on social media to attack me,” Vinicius wrote. “No matter how much you talk and pretend to be uneducated, the image of your championship has taken a hit. Check out the responses to your posts and you’ll be amazed. Avoiding yourself makes you equal to racists.
The incident drew criticism and messages of support from around the world.
Speaking at a press conference at the end of the G7 summit in Japan, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said he wanted to send a message of solidarity to Vinicius, who said it was “unfair” to be insulted in every stadium where he plays.”
“In the middle of the 21st century, it would be impossible to have such strong racial prejudice in many football stadiums,” Lula said.
Current and former players have also rallied around Vinicius, targeting officials for not doing more to end racism in Spain, which some commentators in the country have routinely described as an attempt to gain an advantage on the field.
Kylian Mbappe, who moved to Spain to join Vinicius in Madrid last season, posted a message of support on Instagram. He was joined by Brazil star Neymar, who faced racial abuse while playing for Barcelona in Spain.
Published by the Corporation A statement It described what it said were its efforts to eradicate racism in its arenas. The league said it was working with authorities in Valencia to investigate what happened, and vowed to take legal action if any hate crime was found.
The latest incident will put Spanish football under fresh scrutiny at a time when it is hoping for global support to secure hosting rights for the 2030 World Cup as part of a joint venture with Portugal and Morocco.
“La Liga has been fighting against this kind of behavior for many years, as well as promoting the positive values of the game, not only on the field of play but also off it,” the league said.
However, it is limited in the types of fines that can be levied against clubs. For example, stadium closures are only permitted by the national football federation, which was silent on Monday afternoon’s events in Valencia.