COPA DEL REY
Real Madrid’s Vinicius has a tangled relationship with El Derbi
The Brazilian’s history against Atlético has been marked: bites, racist chants, his official debut with the first team... and still no goals in nine games.
The derby has a special meaning for Real Madrid and it also has it for one of their main attacking stars, Vinicius Jr. Since he landed in Madrid, in the summer of 2018, the Brazilian’s history has been somewhat linked to Atlético, seeming to always revolve around three axes: Madrid’s good results, the player’s drought, and the controversies. The latter has been a mix of refereeing ones as well as others that are much more unpleasant, including racist abuse.
Vinicius vs Atlético Madrid: a personal challenge
Vinicius has a decent record in a Madrid shirt against Atleti: five wins, three draws and one defeat (which came last year, with Madrid already confirmed as LaLiga champions and eyes on the final of the Champions League against Liverpool). However, on a personal level it hasn’t been so positive, with Vini still having not scored against Atleti in 438 minutes of play.
This is not to say that he has not been influential in Madrid’s victories. in his first derby at the Metropolitano he provoked an important penalty and last year, at the Bernabéu, he provided two assists, to Benzema and Asensio, to seal Madrid’s 2-0 win.
In fact, his official debut with Madrid came in a derby. Then manager Julen Lopetegui, who had relegated him to the Castilla reserves despite the fact that Madrid had invested 45 million in him to get him out of Flamengo, gave him two minutes at the end, with 0 -0 on the scoreboard, in September 2018. Insufficient time for him to leave his stamp on the game, something he did not do until Solari took over. That’s where the youngster began to fully express himself on the pitch.
Vinicius: from derby bite to racist chants
Although that derby was not his first match against Atleti -- he played with the reserves for a few weeks before doing it with the first team -- it was a duel remembered for the head bite that Tachi (now in Poland) gave him. The player and club apologised but it was the first sign that Vinicius, due to his way of playing and his character, generates anger and antipathy in his rivals.
What happened before the last derby at the Metropolitano, in September 2022, deserves a separate article all to itself, and much has already been written about it.
Widespread chants of “Vinicius, you’re a monkey” in the Atleti stadium were clearly heard, among other abuse received, all of which were denounced by LaLiga, but their investigations stated that not enough evidence was found for a crime, saying it lasted “only a few seconds” and happened “in a context of huge rivalry”.
This was not an isolated incident, Vinicius having similar abuse directed at him at Camp Nou and Zorrilla, among other stadiums. And for those claiming it’s only emotion-fuelled reactions to the player in the heat of the moment during games, check out below the pre-meditated act of some Atleti fans before El Derbi.
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