Atlético vs Real Madrid: How did Vinícius Jr react to racist chants?
LaLiga is to launch an investigation into racist chants aimed at Real Madrid’s Vinícius Júnior by a section of the Atlético Madrid support on Sunday.
Vinícius Júnior has not directly addressed the racism he suffered at the hands of Atlético Madrid fans on Sunday, but he took understandable pleasure in teasing rojiblancos on social media following the Spanish-capital derby, having played a central role in helping Real Madrid to a 2-1 victory at the Cívitas Metropolitano.
Vinícius tweets lyrics from Real Madrid fans’ chant
In tweets published after Madrid secured their ninth straight win this season, Vinícius quoted sections of “They cried in Lisbon, they cried in Milan”, a chant sung by Madrid fans about their team’s 2014 and 2016 Champions League final wins over Atlético.
Replying to a post by the Twitter user Chema Calderón, who had tweeted a line from the song that ribs Atlético for “losing finals”, the Brazil international completed the lyric with the words “against our Real”. He also added the line: “And nothing ever changes.”
Atlético fans racially abuse Madrid star
Atlético supporters gathered outside the Metropolitano could be heard singing “Vinícius, you are a monkey” prior to Sunday’s derby, while racist chants were also audible in the stadium during the game. The incidents have sparked an investigation by LaLiga, it emerged on Monday, with the Spanish league to compile a report on the abuse before sending it to Spain’s Anti-Violence Commission.
TV pundit tells Vinícius to “stop acting the monkey”
Atleti fans’ “you are a monkey” chants made reference to a Spanish football agent’s controversial recent comments on the 22-year-old’s tendency to celebrate scoring goals with on-pitch dance routines.
Speaking on the Spanish TV show ‘El Chiringuito’ on Thursday, Pedro Bravo said Vinícius should “stop acting the monkey”, prompting a public threat of legal action from Madrid and leading the forward himself to denounce the “xenophobia and racism” in Bravo and others’ criticism of his celebrations.
“As long as the colour of your skin is more important than the sparkle in your eyes, there’ll be conflict,” the player said in a statement posted on Instagram ahead of Madrid’s match against Atlético. “I’m not going to stop [dancing].”
Vinícius also received public support from a number of present and former soccer players. International colleague Neymar urged him to “keep dancing”, while Brazil legend Pelé tweeted: “Football is joy. It’s a dance. It’s a real party. Although racism still exists, we will not allow that to stop us from continuing to smile.”
Bravo later apologised and sought to clarify his comments, claiming that there had been no racist intent in his use of the Spanish phrase “deja de hacer el mono”, and that he had only meant to tell Vinícius to “stop doing stupid things”.
Ahead of a derby whose build-up was dominated by the controversy, Atlético captain Koke also attracted criticism after making comments that appeared to encourage - or, at least, far from discouraged - abuse of Vinícius by the home fans. Asked what the Metropolitano’s reaction would be were the player to celebrate a goal by dancing, he told reporters: “It would kick off, I’m sure.”
“Dance wherever you want...”
Although Vinícius did not get on the scoresheet against Atlético, he had a major part to play in Madrid’s second goal, scored 10 minutes before half time. After dribbling into the box, his shot rebounded off the post to team-mate Fede Valverde, who turned the loose ball into the net.
Earlier, the Brazilian’s compatriot, Rodrygo Goes, had given the visitors the lead with a fine close-range finish from Aurélien Tchouaméni’s pass.
Vinícius celebrated Madrid’s opening goal by dancing with Rodrygo, and - in addition to referencing Madrid’s European final triumphs over Atlético - he published a photo of the moment among his post-match social-media posts, with the message: “Dance wherever you want…”
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