Real Madrid's Vinicius Jr claims La Liga 'belongs to racists' after being target of 'monkey' chants

Racist abuse aimed at Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior in Valencia has led to an extraordinary spat with the president of Spain's La Liga, ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott reports

Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior has hit out at Spain's top football league after being subjected to racist abuse by fans, claiming the division "now belongs to racists".

Vinicius, a Brazil international, made the comments after he appeared in his side's 1-0 away loss to Valencia, on Sunday.

Madrid have confirmed it has summitted an official complaint to Spain's Attorney General's Office, adding that the behaviour directed at Vinicius constitutes a "hate crime".

Valencia say police have identified a fan who made racist gestures at Vincius and that individual faces a lifetime stadium ban from the Mestalla.

Meanwhile Vinicius was drawn into a public spat with the president of La Liga over his response to racism within the Spanish league.

The La Liga match was temporarily stopped for seven minutes in the second-half, after the 22-year-old told the match referee he had been racially abused by fans who chanted "monkey" at him.

He proceeded to approach the stands and point at the supporters he knew were responsible, as players from both teams tried to restore calm.

Players from both Real Madrid and Valenica attempted to calm Vinicius down after he confronted supporters. Credit: AP

Police eventually arrived in the stands to deal with the supporters while an announcement was made asking fans to behave.

After the match finished however, further evidence emerged of widespread abuse aimed at Vinicius, both inside and outside the stadium.

"It wasn't the first time, or the second or the third. Racism is normal in LaLiga. The competition thinks it's normal, as does the federation, and the opponents encourage it," Vinicius said in a social media post.

"The league that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano [Ronaldo] and [Lionel] Messi now belongs to racists... But I'm strong and I will fight until the end against the racists. Even if far from here."

This sparked an extraordinary spat with La Liga president Javier Tebas, who criticised Vinicius for attacking the league.

Suggesting moves have been made to combat racism. He added the Madrid player had failed to show up for talks on the subject, which he had requested himself.

"Before criticising and insulting La Liga, it is necessary that you inform yourself properly," he said.

The player's response: "Once again, instead of criticizing racists, the president of La Liga appears on social media to attack me. As much as you talk & pretend not to read, the image of your league is shaken.”

Tebas responded: "Neither Spain nor La Liga are racist. It is very unfair to say this."

Vinicius has been subjected to racial abuse on several occasions since joining Real Madrid five years ago. La Liga has made nine formal complaints regarding racist abuse of Vinicius in the previous two seasons.

Madrid Manager Carlo Ancelotti said he considered replacing the star forward after the incident was raised.

An incensed Ancelotti refused to talk about the game during his post-match interviews, saying his team's loss meant nothing.

He said: "What happened today shouldn't happen. When a stadium yells 'monkey' to a player, and the coach considers taking him out of the field because of that, it means that there is something bad in this league."

He added: "The game should have been stopped. This shouldn't happen. It wasn't only one person, as it has happened in several stadiums.

"Here, it was a stadium racially insulting a player, the game had to stop. I would have said the same thing if it was 3-0 for us. You have to stop the game, there was no way around it."

Real Madrid Manager Carlo Ancelotti said he considered replacing Vinicius after the incident was raised. Credit: AP

Ancelotti said he asked the referee to stop the match, but was told the protocol was to first make an announcement to fans and then take other action if the problem continued.

Ancelotti said Vinicius did not want to keep playing initially, but he told the player he was not guilty of anything and that he was the victim.

Vinicius's teammate Thibaut Courtois confirmed that Vinicius had been singled out for the abuse and said he would have left the pitch with him if he had decided to stop playing.

Vinicius was later sent off after an altercation with Valencia players, choosing to gesture to the home supporters about their team's fight against relegation as he left the pitch.

Valencia Manager Ruben Baraja condemned the behavior of Valencia fans, but also criticised Vinicius, saying he should have respected the club and its supporters.

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Two Valenica fans, who have been accused of racially insulting Vinicius, have been identified by the club, according to reports in Spain.

La Liga has said it has requested images from the game to investigate what happened, and will potentially probe a separate incident outside Valencia's Mestalla Stadium where a large group of supporters allegedly shouted racist abuse as the Madrid bus arrived.

Madrid, in a statement, said it "strongly condemns" the events that marred the club's clash with Valencia, adding it had complained to prosecutors in Spain on the basis of "crimes of hatred and discrimination".

"These events represent a direct attack on the social and democratic model of coexistence of our State based on the rule of law," the club said in a statement.

The statement continued: "Article 124 of the Spanish Constitution stipulates that the role of the Public Prosecutor's Office is to promote the pursuit of justice in defense of legality and the rights of citizens and the public interest.

"Given the seriousness of the events that took place, Real Madrid has appealed to the Attorney General's Office, without prejudice to its standing as a private prosecutor in any proceedings that may be initiated."

Vinicius was sent off in the game after an altercation with Valencia players. Credit: AP

Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has joined a wave of Brazilian politicians, players and clubs who have offered their backing to Vinicius.

He told a news conference at the G7 in Japan he hopes FIFA, La Liga and other governing bodies within football will "take measures so we don't allow racism and fascism to take over" in the sport.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has also previously spoke of his support for Vinicius, saying: "With the system, each organiser is responsible for what happens in their competitions, but we provide the players with a system to stop insults on social networks.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino claims "the FIFA name is the only global, original title." Credit: PA

"Regarding what happens on the pitch, referees have the obligation if there are racist insults. The famous three steps, stop, leave the pitch and if they continue, the match is over. It's a problem of education and politeness."

Former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand took to Instagram in support of Vinicius and questioned player protection.

He posted: “Bro you need protecting….who is protecting Vinicius Junior in Spain?? He receives a red card after being choked and receiving racial abuse during the game… wtf. “How many times do we need to see this young man subjected to this s**t?? I see pain, I see disgust, I see him needing help… and the authorities don’t do s**t to help him. People need to stand together and demand more from the authorities that run our game.

"No one deserves this, yet you are allowing it. There needs to be a unified approach to this otherwise it will be swept under the carpet AGAIN.”

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