Vinicius Jr poster defaced at Bernabeu as Real Madrid star’s racism row continues
The racism row that has engulfed Spanish football shows no sign of abating after a poster of the Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr was defaced on Wednesday.
An image of the Brazilian player on an advertisement for stadium tours at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu was torn off the wall as the culprit left the nearby depiction of Karim Benzema untouched.
The shocking scenes are just the latest episode in a saga that has boiled over across LaLiga, sparked by Vinicius suffering the latest of several racist attacks while playing for Real at Valencia.
The 22-year-old was sent off following clashes with opposition players after he complained of racist abuse from the stands, although has since seen his punishment rescinded.
However, he will not play in Wednesday night’s game against Rayo Vallecano due to a minor injury.
The Spanish football federation (RFEF) have also punished Valencia by enforcing a five-game partial stadium closure, shutting the Mario Kempes Stand and fining the LaLiga club £39,000 – a verdict they have vowed to appeal.
A Valencia statement added: “Valencia CF has condemned, condemns and will condemn in the most energetic way any act of racism or violence.
“These behaviours have no place in football or in society and we will continue to act in the most forceful way to eradicate this scourge.”
It added: “Valencia CF will appeal to the last instance the closure of the stand, a sanction that it considers totally unfair and one more offence in the latest disciplinary decisions that have been taken against the club.”
Furthermore, coach Ruben Baraja told reporters: “I am not going to allow the Valencia CF fans and Mestalla to be smeared with labels that do not represent us.
“Just as a player rightly fights back against insults and I support that with all my might, we as a club and a fanbase rebel against those who, during the days since the game, have accused us of being what we are not.”
Three men have been arrested in Valencia following Sunday’s episode, with a further four detained after an effigy of Vinicius was hung from a bridge outside Real’s training ground in January.
The Madrid star tweeted: “It wasn’t the first time, not the second time, not the third. Racism is normal in LaLiga. The competition is normal, the Federation also and the opponents encourage.
“I’m sorry. The championship that was once Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi today is the racists. A beautiful nation, which welcomed me and whom I love, but which accepted to export the image to the world of a racist country.
“I am sorry for the Spaniards who do not agree, but today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists. And unfortunately, for everything that happens each week, I have no way to defend. I agree.
“But I am strong and I will go all the way against the racists. Even if far from here.”