Vinicius Junior breaks down in tears discussing racist abuse: ‘I feel less and less like playing’


Vinicius Junior says the racist abuse directed at him is getting worse because perpetrators are going unpunished, as he broke down in tears at an emotional press conference on Monday.

The Real Madrid forward was speaking ahead of Tuesday’s match between Spain and Brazil at the Santiago Bernabeu, a friendly organised “to reinforce the commitment against violence and racism in football”.

Vinicius Jr has suffered persist racist abuse in Spain and has been subjected to it in over 10 Spanish stadiums over the past two years. However, he said he had not considered leaving Spain as that would give those who have abused him “exactly what they want”.

“Things have gotten worse since the first time I denounced what happened to me,” he said. “Because people are not punished, they feel like they can keep saying things about the colour of my skin to try to affect how I play. But they could try to do that in other ways, and I wouldn’t have a problem with that. I just want to play, and I want to be able to go to stadiums without anyone bothering me because of the colour of my skin.”

Vinicius Jr returned to the Mestella this month to face Valencia for the first time since Real Madrid’s game there in May 2023, when he was subjected to racist abuse from “hundreds of fans” before kick-off — according to a report from the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) — as well as instances during the match, which attracted global attention.

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Valencia and La Liga under the spotlight as Vinicius Jr makes Mestalla return

He scored two goals for his club in a 2-2 draw and in celebration of his first goal, he held his fist up towards the stands, recreating the iconic gesture from Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

Eleven days later, La Liga reported alleged racist chanting directed towards Vinicius Jr outside Atletico Madrid’s stadium, Civitas Metropolitano, ahead of the Champions League tie against Inter Milan to the Madrid prosecutor’s office.

Alleged chants of “Vinicius, die” were also reported outside the Olympic Stadium before Barcelona’s Champions League tie against Napoli, and Madrid filed a complaint to the state attorney general’s office for “crimes of hate and discrimination” following the two incidents.

He continued: “I just want to play football but it’s hard to move forward… I feel less and less like playing (due to the racist abuse).

“It never crossed my mind (to leave Spain) because if I leave Spain I give the racists exactly what they want.

“I will stay because that way the racists can continue to see my face more and more. I’m a bold player, I play for Real Madrid and we win a lot of titles and that doesn’t sit well with a lot of people.”

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Vinicius Junior and racism in Spanish football – has anything changed?

(Oscar J. Barroso/Europa Press via Getty Images)





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