Video footage has emerged of Atletico Madrid supporters singing a sickening racist chant directed towards Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr ahead of the Madrid derby at the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday night. The Brazilian will be firmly in the spotlight for the crunch meeting due to a story that has dominated headlines both in Spain and around the world leading up to the game.
The controversy started when Atletico Madrid captain Koke warned Vinicius to expect fireworks should he opt to dance upon scoring in the match – the winger’s trademark celebration.
The Spaniard said: “At the end of the day if he scores a goal and decides to dance it’s his call. To each his own and everyone celebrates the way he likes.”
Before later adding: “There would be trouble for sure [if Vinicius dances], it’s normal.”
Then, Pedro Bravo, the president of the Spanish agents association, accused Vinicius of “playing the monkey” – comments that sparked outrage, most notably in Brazil.
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The racist slur has prompted several of Vinicius Jr’s international team-mates to rally around the 22-year-old, telling him to dance freely if he does indeed find the net.
Now, shocking footage ahead of the match has emerged that appears to show Atletico fans collectively singing racist chants outside the stadium.
“You are a monkey, Vinicius you are a monkey,” was sung repeatedly outside the Wanda Metropolitano.
Atletico Madrid have since responded with a brief message on their Twitter account, posting: “Countdown to the derby. Support Atleti with passion and respect to the rival!”
Real Madrid issued a statement of their own on Saturday, threatening legal action against anyone who racially abuses their players.
It read: “Real Madrid C. F. condemns all types of racist and xenophobic language and behaviour in football, sport and life in general, such as the regrettable and unfortunate comments made against our player Vinicius Junior in the last few hours.
“Real Madrid would like to express its affection and support for Vinicius Junior, a player who regards football as an attitude towards life through joy, respect and sportsmanship. Football is the most global sport there is and should be a model of values and coexistence.
“The club has directed its legal services to take legal action against anyone who makes racist remarks towards our players.”
Neymar and Gabriel Jesus, who paid tribute to his compatriot with a celebratory dance after scoring in Arsenal’s 3-0 win at Brentford, were among those to issue their backing for the attacker on Twitter.
His manager Carlo Ancelotti also issued his support for his player, stating it has been impossible to ignore the outside noise.
Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti takes no issue with Vinicius’ dancing, stating he will protect all of the club’s players.
“I see a great player demonstrating his talent – that’s it,” Ancelotti said.
“I’m not deaf and I’m not stupid, I can hear what is being said but this isn’t a topic for us or for Vinicius. He has extraordinary quality and it’s normal that opponents try to stop him in his tracks and the rules of the game are there to protect all players, not just Vinicius.”
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