‘Equal to racists’ – Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior fires back at La Liga president Javier Tebas following shocking response to more discriminatory taunts
The Brazil international confronted some of those responsible at the Mestalla, leading to the game in question being halted for several minutes, with the South American growing tired of having to lead calls for change himself.
Despite such events becoming a regular occurrence this season, La Liga has thus far taken no decisive action.
Tebas has come under fire for that, with Vinicius saying: “the championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano [Ronaldo] and [Lionel] Messi today belongs to racists.”
La Liga’s president responded to those claims with a shocking post on social media in which he attempted to deflect some of the blame for a lack of action back towards Real’s superstar winger.
He said: “We have tried to explain to you what La Liga is and what it can do in cases of racism, but you have not shown up to either of the two agreed dates that you yourself requested. Before criticising and insulting La Liga, you need to inform yourself properly Vinicius.
“Don’t let yourself be manipulated and make sure you understand the work we have been doing together.”
Vinicius has not taken kindly to seeing the head of La Liga drag him into a discussion that Spanish authorities should be leading, with the 22-year-old saying in a stinging response to Tebas on Twitter: “Once again, instead of criticising racists, the president of LaLiga appears on social media to attack me.
"No matter how much you talk and pretend not to read, the image of your league is shaken. Look at the responses to his posts and be in for a surprise...
"Omitting yourself only makes you equal to racists. I am not your friend to talk to about racism. I want action and punishment. Hashtag does not move me."
While Vinicius feels that he has little support from La Liga, he does have the backing of club colleagues and his native country.
Brazil’s president, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, has spoken out against the abuse his fellow countryman continues to be subjected to.
Vinicius’ former club, Flamengo, have said “it is even more shocking to know that it is not the first time and that so little has been done to fight (racism in the Spanish league) and stop it from happening again.”
Several other teams in Brazil have also made statements, while Selecao star Richarlison has said: “They always did whatever they could to stop blacks from coming near the top.
“They enslaved, marginalised and killed. But they will never knock down those who were born to be big. History forgets the rats and makes those fighting these bad people much bigger. I am with you always, Vini.”
In the aftermath of Sunday's abhorrent events, Real Madrid released a statement on Monday denouncing the racist abuse against Vinicius, confirming they had lodged the complaint with Spain's Prosecutor's Office.
"Real Madrid C. F. expresses its strongest repulsion and condemns the events that took place yesterday against our player Vinicius Junior," a statement on the club's website read. "These events constitute a direct attack on the model of coexistence of our social and democratic State under the rule of law.
"Real Madrid considers that such attacks also constitute a hate crime, and has therefore filed the corresponding complaint with the State Attorney General's Office, specifically with the Prosecutor's Office against hate crimes and discrimination, so that the facts can be investigated and responsibilities can be established. Article 124 of the Spanish Constitution establishes that the functions of the Public Prosecutor's Office are to promote the action of justice in defence of legality and the rights of citizens and the public interest.
"For this reason, and in view of the seriousness of the events that have occurred, Real Madrid has turned to the State Prosecutor's Office, without prejudice to its appearance as a private prosecutor in the proceedings to be initiated."
Following Real Madrid's public condemnation, Valencia then sought to distance the club from Sunday's vile acts, stating: "Valencia CF, in line with the club’s permanent commitment against racism and violence in all forms, announce that the police has identified a fan who made racist gestures at Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr in the Matchday 35 match at Mestalla on May 21st.
"The club are also working along with the police to confirm the identity of any other potential offenders. From the moment that the unfortunate events occurred, the club have analysed all the available footage, working alongside the authorities as rapidly as possible to clarify what happened in order to be able to act quickly and forcefully.
"Valencia CF have proceeded to open a disciplinary case, will apply the maximum level of severity, including a lifetime stadium ban against the fans involved, and is working closely together with the authorities. The club strongly condemn this type of behaviour, which has no place in football and society and does not correspond to the values of Valencia CF and our fans.
"Valencia CF have taken a strong stance against racism and have previously acted with the same forcefulness in 2019, with a lifetime ban for a fan who made fascist gestures to Arsenal fans in a UEFA Europa League game."