Four people have been arrested in Spain for hanging an effigy of Vinicius Junior from a bridge in January, less than 24 hours after Real Madrid filed a hate crime complaint for racist abuse during the La Liga clash with Valencia at the Mestalla.
The 22-year-old winger claimed ‘racism is normal’ in La Liga and described it as a competition that ‘belongs to racists’ after suffering a torrent of abuse on Sunday.
He also said that his native Brazil considers Spain a ‘country of racists’ as a result of the treatment he has consistently been on the receiving end of.
In January, a group of Atletico Madrid fans hung an effigy of Vinicius from a bridge below a banner which read ‘Madrid hates Real.’
There was widespread condemnation at the time, with Real Madrid calling for the culprits to be brought to justice, but no arrests have been made until now.
The abuse of Vinicius at Valencia, meanwhile, continued despite the Brazilian informing officials at the time of what was being chanted from the stands.
The game was stopped at one point, which appeared to incense the crowd further, and Vinicius was sent off in stoppage time when his frustrations boiled over when he was grabbed around the throat by a Valencia player.
Vinicius wasn’t happy with the response of La Liga president, Javier Tebas, who was critical of the player rather than condemning the racists. But Gianni Infantino offered the full solidarity of FIFA, while Valencia pledged to take the most severe measures against the perpetrators.
Real have released their own statement, making clear their belief that what happened at the Mestalla was a hate crime, describing their ‘strongest revulsion’ and the incident as ‘a direct attack on the coexistence model of our social and democratic state of law.
The statement explained, “Real Madrid considers that such attacks also constitute a hate crime, for which reason it has filed the corresponding complaint with the State Attorney General’s Office, specifically with the Prosecutor’s Office against hate crimes and discrimination, so that the facts can be investigated and clear responsibilities.
“Article 124 of the Spanish Constitution establishes the functions of the Public Prosecutor’s Office to promote the action of justice in defence of legality and the rights of citizens and the public interest.
“For this reason, and given the seriousness of the events that occurred, Real Madrid has turned to the State Attorney General’s Office, without prejudice to its appearance as a private prosecution in the proceedings that are being initiated.”
Despite the ongoing problems with racism, as far as his Real Madrid future is concerned, Vinicius has no plans to leave the club