Fans inside Valencia’s Mestalla stadium were warned about racist behaviour, with their game against Real Madrid paused after abuse was allegedly directed at opposition forward Vinicius Junior.
The forward has been racially abused by fans in Spain this season, prompting strong criticism from others in the game. Back in February, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said “nothing in the world” could justify such abuse, expressing his shock at a line of questioning from one reporter.
The match was eventually restarted after a short delay, with Vinicius sent off in second-half stoppage time as Madrid fell to a 1-0 defeat. After the fixture, Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti strongly condemned the lack of action being taken.
We have been complaining about this abuse all season and nothing!” Ancelotti told the media after his side’s defeat “It has reached the point where the manager must consider taking off his player because the game is not being stopped. There is something wrong with this league if this happens.
According to The Athletic, a message was broadcast over the tannoy after the game was stopped. It reportedly said “racist behaviour from certain spectators would not be tolerated”.
“It wasn’t the first time, nor the second, nor the third. Racism is normal in La Liga,” the Brazil star wrote on Twitter, as translated by Goal. “The competition thinks it’s normal, the [Spanish Football] Federation does too and the opponents encourage it.
I’m so sorry. The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano [Ronaldo] and [Lionel] Messi today belongs to racists.
A beautiful nation, which welcomed me and which I love, but which agreed to export the image of a racist country to the world.
“I’m sorry for the Spaniards who don’t agree, but today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists. And unfortunately, for everything that happens each week, I have no defense. I agree. But I am strong and I will go to the end against racists. Even if far from here.”
Ancelotti spoke to Movistar TV after the game, explaining he felt what happened to his player was “more important” than the result. Real Madrid fell to third behind Atletico Madrid before kick-off, and stayed there thanks to Diego Lopez’s winner for Valencia.