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BRAZIL

New Brazil boss willing to “take drastic action” to protect Vinícius Júnior

Ahead of his national team debut against against England, Dorival Júnior spoke about the abuse that the Real Madrid player has suffered.

Brazil set to take on England
PILAR OLIVARESREUTERS

Dorival Júnior will take charge of the Brazilian national team for the first time on Saturday 23 March when his team play a friendly international against England.

He has precious little time to prepare his new team for this summer’s Copa América in the United States. Brazil have fallen well below their high standards in recent years, despite boasting a number of world class talents in their squad.

Key among them is Real Madrid star Vinícius Júnior, who has scored 18 goals for Los Blancos this season despite missing a significant period due to injury. Vini Jr has developed into a world class forward in Spain, but has also been subjected to racist abuse with shocking regularity. Dorvival has called for greater action to address the problem.

“Sadly it is happening all over the world. Ignorance still remains,” he told The Guardian. “The authorities must take more severe action. This situation with Vinícius, in particular, has already crossed the line. The Spanish people in general are a very friendly, respectful and above all peaceful people and they should not have their image tarnished by a handful of malicious people.”

Brazil prepared to take a stand against racist abuse

The second of Dorival’s games in charge of Brazil takes the team to Madrid, where they will take on Spain at Santiago Bernabeu. The friendly fixture was organised last year amid the fall-out from an infamous case of racist abuse against Vinícius.

The Real Madrid man was the subject of sustained racist chanting at Valencia’s Mestalla and the friendly was arranged to draw attention to the continued struggle to eradicate discrimination within the game. Vinícius has been the victim on countless occasions but teams are understandably reluctant to leave the field of play in protest. Dorival revealed that he is willing to take a stand if the problem reoccurs in future.

He explained: “We will need to analyse and balance all of the information in such moments but we need to be prepared to take drastic action if it happens again. Vinícius is still a boy. He is still finishing his education and he can’t be treated like this by this minority.”

The new Brazil boss will hope that the shocking abuse that Vinícius has received in the past will not reoccur. Next week’s friendly in Madrid is designed to make abundantly clear that such remarks, chants and messages are not acceptable but it remains an issue that soccer as a whole has to contend with. And, although no one wants to see games abandoned, teams showing a willingness to walk off when abuse is heard will act as a powerful symbol of solidarity.

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