Real Madrid's Brazil forward Vinicius Jr has called LaLiga and Spain racist after receiving racial slurs from the stands in Sunday's defeat at Valencia's Mestalla stadium.
Vinicius Jr pointed out the fans who were insulting him, leading to the match being stopped for 10 minutes, and then got into an altercation with Valencia's players which led to his sending off in the second half.
"It was not the first time, nor the second, nor the third. Racism is normal in LaLiga. The competition considers it normal, the federation considers it normal and the rivals encourage it," Vinicius posted on Twitter after the game.
"The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano (Ronaldo) and (Lionel) Messi today belongs to the racists.
"A beautiful nation, which welcomed me and which I love, but which accepted to export to the world the image of a racist country. I am sorry for those Spaniards who disagree but today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists.
"I am strong and I will go all the way against the racists. Even if it is far away from here," he added.
LaLiga will request all available images in order to investigate what took place in light of the incident.
"If any hate crime is identified, we will take the appropriate legal action," it said in a statement.
LaLiga president Javier Tebas responded to Vinicius Jr's comments by asking him to be more informed about what can be done in cases of racism.
"Since those who should explain to you what it is and what LaLiga can do in cases of racism, we have tried to explain it ourselves, but you have not shown up for either of the two agreed dates that you requested yourself," he said on Twitter.
"Before you criticise and slander LaLiga you need to inform yourself properly @Vinijr. Don't let yourself be manipulated and make sure you understand each other's competences and the work we have been doing together," he added.
|Soccer Football - LaLiga - Valencia v Real Madrid - Mestalla, Valencia, Spain - May 21, 2023 Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior gestures towards a fan after witnessing abuse as Valencia's Jose Gaya and Cenk Ozkacar attempt to restrain him. Photo: Reuters|
Messages of support
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva expressed his support for the player and called on soccer's world governing body FIFA to stop racism in football.
"I would like to express my solidarity with our Brazilian player, a poor boy who succeeded in life and is potentially becoming one of the best players in the world, certainly the best at Real Madrid. And he is attacked in every stadium he plays in," he told a press conference.
"I think it is important that FIFA, the Spanish league and leagues in other countries take real action, because we cannot allow fascism and racism to dominate football stadiums."
Real manager Carlo Ancelotti also spoke out against the incident on social media.
"Today has been a sad day at Mestalla, where a group of fans have shown their worst version. It is time to stop talking and act forcefully. Racism has no place in football or in society. NO TO RACISM ANYWHERE".
Vinicius Jr's team mate and fellow Brazil international Eder Militao expressed his support for the forward.
"It's a disgrace! To suffer racism, to defend yourself and then be sent off trying to defend yourself! How long do we have to put up with this?".
The president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF), Ednaldo Rodrigues, also sent a message of support to the 22-year-old player.
"How long are we going to experience, in the middle of the 21st century, episodes like the one we just witnessed, once again, in La Liga? There is no joy where there is racism. Skin colour can no longer bother," he said on social media.
The Brazilian Ministry of Racial Affairs said on Twitter: "The Brazilian government will not tolerate racism either here or outside Brazil," adding that it will notify the Spanish authorities and LaLiga about what happened to Vinicius.
The Spanish league has previously lodged complaints of racist chanting or insults against Vinicius Jr, the latest of which was a claim before a court in Mallorca after fans were filmed racially abusing the forward.
Spanish police are also investigating a possible hate crime against Vinicius Jr after a mannequin wearing his number 20 shirt was hung from a bridge outside Real Madrid's training ground in January.