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Emotional Vinicius Junior says he almost left Madrid due to racism in LaLiga

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An emotional Vinicius Junior has revealed he considered leaving Real Madrid due to the racist abuse he has suffered in Spain, but says he will not give up in his fight against prejudice.

Vinicius has been subjected to racist abuse on numerous occasions over the last few years. Last May, two Valencia fans were given permanent stadium bans after abusing Vinicius in Los Che’s 1-0 win over Madrid at the Mestalla.

Vinicius subsequently said LaLiga had failed to deal with racism, prompting the league’s president Javier Tebas to say the Brazilian was being “manipulated” – comments he later apologised for.

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Another high-profile incident saw Atletico Madrid fans hang an effigy of Vinicius from a bridge last January, while social media footage showed supporters singing derogatory chants about the winger ahead of Champions League games involving Barcelona and Atletico earlier this month.

Vinicius is back in Madrid with his national team this week, with Brazil set to face Spain in a high-profile friendly at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.

At Monday’s pre-match press conference, Vinicius was in tears when asked about the effect of the abuse he has suffered.

“I am sure Spain is not a racist country, but there are many racists here,” Vinicius said. “Many of them are in the stadiums and that must change. Perhaps people do not really know what racism is.

“At 23 years old, I have to teach many Spaniards what racism is and how it affects me. Since the first time I denounced racism on the pitch in Spain, things have increased.

 

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A post shared by Vinicius Jr. ⚡️🇧🇷 (@vinijr)

“They have more strength because they know they can do anything. What they say about the colour of my skin can affect me on the field and that’s what they try to do, so I play badly.

“I just want to play and be well, so that I can go to all the fields in Spain with the peace of mind that they will not judge me by the colour of my skin.

“We are all together to fight against racism. We, who are black, know that we have to work twice as hard. We all have to be together, there are a lot of people who defend us.”

Some onlookers have questioned why Vinicius continues to turn out in the league given the continual nature of the abuse, and he admits leaving has crossed his mind.

“I have thought so much about leaving LaLiga, but if I did, I would prove the racists right,” Vinicius said.

“I am going to continue fighting and playing for the best club in the world, winning titles and scoring goals so that people have to see my face more.

“I continue to evolve to do these things, to play football, to be the joy of my people, of all the people who go to the stadium. Racists are always a minority.

“I am a daring player, and I am going to remain firm and strong because the president and the club support me so that I can continue here.”

 

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A post shared by Vinicius Jr. ⚡️🇧🇷 (@vinijr)

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.

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