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Football Reporting


LaLiga to probe further racist abuse toward Vinicius

LaLiga said they will launch an investigation into racist fan abuse suffered by Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior during the club’s shock 1-0 defeat at Mallorca on Sunday.

Supporters could be heard calling the 22-year-old Brazilian player a racial slur at the Son Moix stadium in a video published by streaming company DAZN on social media.

Vinicius has been subjected to racial abuse by fans on at least three other occasions — at Camp Nou against Barcelona in November 2021, at Atletico Madrid in September 2022 and at Valladolid in late December 2022.

LaLiga have asked fans to cooperate to identify those responsible.

“Given the events that occurred in the RCD Mallorca-Real Madrid match, in which once again intolerable racist insults were observed against Real Madrid player Vinicius Jr., LaLiga is putting all the technical means at its disposal and working with the local club for the identification of those responsible, with the aim of taking the appropriate legal measures,” LaLiga said in a statement Monday.

Mallorca did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But in a radio interview, Mallorca manager Javier Aguirre condemned racist slurs being used toward Vinicius.

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Aguirre denied that his players targeted Vinicius in an ill-tempered match in which the forward was fouled 10 times — the most endured by any LaLiga player in a single game this season.

Spanish police are also investigating a possible hate crime against the Brazilian after a mannequin wearing his No. 20 shirt was hung from a bridge in front of the club’s training centre ahead of the Madrid derby two weeks ago.

The mannequin was hung next to a banner in Atletico’s red and white colours that read “Madrid hates Real” during the early hours of Jan. 26, police said.

Prosecutors in Madrid decided not to press charges over racist chanting aimed at Vinicius in September after finding it had “lasted a few seconds” and had not constituted a crime.

In December, Vinicius accused LaLiga of continuing to do nothing about racist fans at matches, after videos on social media showed some shouting abuse and throwing objects at him during a match the previous day at Valladolid.

Pele, Neymar and other leading Brazilian figures leapt to the defence of Vinicius in September after a panelist on a Spanish football show criticised the forward.

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The panelist said Vinicius was not respecting opponents with his celebrations, comparing his behaviour to that of a monkey — which immediately sparked a backlash on social media.

Vinicius issued a two-minute video statement at the time in response to what he called a “xenophobic and racist” insult, saying he “won’t stop dancing” and that “the happiness of a black Brazilian being successful in Europe bothers” many people.

Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti and Vinicius’ teammates have been urging LaLiga to take action to protect the Brazilian from what they are calling “a hunt” by rivals’ defenders.

Having suffered 79 fouls so far this season, Vinicius is the most fouled player in Europe’s top seven leagues by a significant margin, followed by his compatriot Neymar at PSG with 59 fouls.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.

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