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Four people arrested for hate crimes after allegedly hanging effigy of Real Madrid attacker Vinícius Júnior

The Brazilian has been the target of racist abuse throughout his time in Spain but has been unhappy with a perceived lack of action.

The Brazilian has been the target of racist abuse throughout his time in Spain but has been unhappy with a perceived lack of action.

Just over 36 hours after the latest racism storm surrounding Real Madrid attacker Vinícius Júnior, police in Spain have announced that four people have been arrested in connection to the hanging of an effigy of the Brazilian in Madrid in January, in the run-up to the Copa del Rey quarter-final derby against Atlético Madrid.

A mannequin wearing a Madrid shirt bearing the winger’s name and number 20 was hung from a bridge near the club’s training ground, alongside a banner reading “Madrid hates Real”.

A hate crime investigation was opened in the aftermath of the incident, with Spanish police revealing on Tuesday that four individuals aged 19, 21, 23 and 24 had been detained for their alleged involvement, having been identified during subsequent high-risk soccer matches.

Vinícius racially abused in Real Madrid’s loss to Valencia

On Sunday, Vinícius was on the receiving end of vile racist insults in his team’s defeat to Valencia at Mestella. During a stoppage in play, the Brazilian pointed out the offending ‘fan’ behind the goal to the match official and tried to confront him, with players from both sides stepping in to try to calm the situation down.

In the hours that followed, the Real Madrid winger received a huge number of messages of support from around the globe, including from current and former players, politicians and celebrities.

Vinícius and LaLiga chief Tebas’ war of words

Vinícius also got involved in another online war of words with LaLiga president Javier Tebas, with whom he has been at odds for years following the league’s perceived lack of action taken against repeated incidents of racist abuse. Racism is normal in LaLiga. The competition thinks it is normal, the federation thinks it is normal and the opponents encourage it”, was the player’s scathing assessment of the situation.

Tebas acknowledged that there had been eight reports of racist insults towards the Brazilian in the 2022-23 but claimed LaLiga had done everything that they possibly could to file complaints with the relevant legal disciplinary bodies.

Authorities criticised for lenient punishments

On Monday, Real Madrid released a statement announcing they had reported the abuse to the Attorney General’s Office, while police in Valencia were able identify one offending fan, with the club vowing to issue a lifetime stadium ban. In February, a Real Mallorca suppoter was fined €4,000 and handed a 12-month stadium ban after being found guilty of racially insulting Vinícius during a match earlier than month.


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