Vinícius again the target of insults in Spanish league match

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Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior celebrates after scoring a disallowed goal during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Osasuna and Real Madrid at El Sadar stadium in Pamplona, Spain, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

MADRID – The insults against Real Madrid forward Vinícius Júnior have continued in Spain, with the Brazil forward again being targeted by opposing fans in a Spanish league match.

The insults started during the moment of silence before Madrid’s 2-0 win at Osasuna on Saturday, and continued with fans chanting, “Die, Vinícius” later in the game.

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“The insults continue, but so does the dancing,” Vinícius said on Twitter after the victory.

Returning from a one-game suspension, Vinícius led Madrid’s attack and set up the late goal by Federico Valverde that put Madrid on its way to a win on the road.

The 22-year-old Vinícius, who is Black, has been the target of hate insults since arriving to play in Spain in 2018. Several racist attacks have been made against him during matches, and his effigy was hanged by the neck off a bridge before a derby against city rival Atletico Madrid last month.

“It’s lamentable,” Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said. “There’s no place for this nonsense. We have to stop looking at Vinícius, we have to start looking at the fans. It’s a shame, because you see kids with their parents and they are showing him the finger.”

Madrid's veteran Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti said the foul language directed at Vinícius during the moment of silence in honor of earthquake victims was “a disrespect toward Tukey and Syria.”

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit those countries on Feb. 6, killing more than 44,000 people.

There has been little punishment for hate attacks against soccer players in Spain, though recently Valladolid suspended 12 season ticket holders while investigating their alleged use of verbal abuse against Vinícius. Spanish media said Sunday that the Mallorca fan who called the Brazilian “a monkey” in another match has been identified by authorities.

The first trial against a fan who racially insulted a player in Spain is expected to begin this year following remarks by an Espanyol supporter against Athletic Bilbao forward Iñaki Williams a few years ago.


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