Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior has claimed racism is “normal” in Spain’s top league after fans allegedly targeted him with abusive chants.
The match at Valencia’s Mestalla ground was paused after the half-time break as the 22-year-old pointed out the supporters who were taunting him to the referee.
Vinicius, who has been racially abused from the stands several times this season, was clearly incensed, prompting teammates and opposition players to try to calm him down.
The Brazilian was later sent off for violent conduct in added time of his side’s 1-0 defeat following an altercation with Valencia striker Hugo Duro – the first red card of his career.
In a statement on Instagram after the match, Vinicius referenced the previous instances of racist abuse and accused Spain’s footballing authorities of not doing enough.
“It wasn’t the first time, not the second and not the third. Racism is normal in LaLiga,” he said.
“The competition thinks it’s normal, so does the Federation and the opponents encourage it. I am so sorry.”
‘La Liga belongs to the racists’
Vinicius said the Spanish league, that once “belonged” to star players like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, now “belongs to the racists”.
“Sorry for the Spaniards who do not agree, but today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists,” he added.
“And unfortunately, with everything that happens on a weekly basis, I have no way to defend. I agree.”
Club vows investigation
La Liga has released its own statement, saying it had been “fighting against this kind of behaviour for years”.
Valencia also posted a statement on their club website, pledging it would investigate what happened and “take the most severe measures”.
“Valencia CF wishes to publicly condemn any type of insult, attack or disqualification in football,” it added.
Some 46,000 supporters were in attendance for Sunday’s match, which saw Valencia move up to 13th in the league table and Madrid remain third – 14 points behind arch-rivals and champions Barcelona.
Diego Lopez got the only goal of the game in the 33rd minute for the home side.