27 Mar, 2024 @ 12:23
2 mins read

Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior says he is ‘losing desire to play football’ in Spain due to racist abuse

REAL Madrid’s star winger, Vinicius Junior, has admitted he is ‘losing the desire to play football’ thanks to repetitive racist abuse he has received whilst playing in Spain.

The Brazilian’s comments came in an emotional press conference prior to Tuesday night’s ‘One Skin’ friendly between Brazil and Spain at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu – the game finished 3-3 in an enthralling encounter thanks to a 96th minute Selecao penalty from Lucas Paqueta.

Vinicius, who is Black, said: “I just want to play football but it is hard to move forward. I feel less and less like playing”.

The Real Madrid winger, who scored the winning goal in the 2022 UEFA Champions League final against Liverpool, was reduced to tears as he reflected on the barrage of racist abuse he has faced since arriving in Spain in 2018.

Valencia were given a partial stadium ban for five matches and fined €45,000 last year after Vinicius was subjected to monkey chants.

Vinicius Jr was reduced to tears during a pre-match press conference on Monday. Credit: Cordon Press

In May 2023, four men were arrested in Madrid after an effigy of the Brazilian was hung from a bridge over a busy motorway.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez even intervened, demanding action after Atletico Madrid supporters similarly aimed ‘monkey’ chants at the forward.

However, Vinicius insisted he would continue to play in Spain for Los Blancos despite the torrent of abuse.

“It has never crossed my mind because if I leave Spain I give the racists exactly what they want. I will stay because that way the racists can continue to see my face more and more”, he stated defiantly.

He added: “I’m a bold player, I play for Real Madrid and we win a lot of titles and that doesn’t sit well with a lot of people. I will stay here, playing for the best club in the world and scoring goals and winning titles. And people will have to keep seeing my face for a long time”. 

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Javier Tebas, La Liga president, had a social media spat with Vinicius over his experiences of racism in Spanish stadiums. Credit: Cordon Press

Vinicius has previously come in for criticism from quarters of Spanish society after he said La Liga, Spain’s premier football competition, ‘belongs to racists’, and ‘in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists’.

La Liga’s president Javier Tebas, who voted for far-right Vox in 2019 and has admitted to being a member of the fascist Fuerza Nueva in the 1980s, said Spain has ‘a lot less racism than in any other country’ as incidents do not happen ‘all the time’ and ‘are mainly focused on Vinicius’.

Vinicius’ teammate, right-back Dani Carvajal, likewise claimed this week that ‘Spain is not a racist country’ as ‘we have a high level of integration’.

In shocking comments before Tuesday’s match, former Spanish international Donato Gama da Silva admitted: “If I’m playing against Vinicius, I would call him a n**** to provoke him. It’s not racism, it’s provocation”. 

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