Europe

Racism in Spain reducing my desire to play football: Brazil’s Vinicius



The Real Madrid forward has suffered abuse from opposition fans on many occasions in recent years, with one incident in Valencia in May provoking worldwide outrage.

Spain will face Vinicius’ Brazil at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday under the slogan “One Skin” to help combat racism.

“I’ve been seeing this (racism) for a long time, and every time I feel sadder, and every time I have less desire to play,” Vinicius told a news conference.

READ ALSO: Football star Vinicius highlights racist behaviour from Spanish fans

The forward broke down in tears at one point after answering questions about the racist abuse he has suffered in different stadiums across Spain. However later, Vinicius said would not leave Spain and try playing in a different country to escape the abuse.

“I would be giving the racists what they want,” continued the 23-year-old. “I will stay at the best club in the world, scoring as many goals as I can so they keep watching me.”

Vinicius said he wished he could only think about his playing career.

“Playing football is very important but the fight against racism is hugely important,” he said.

“I want people of colour to have a normal life and if that was the case, I would go to games with my club only focussed on playing.”

Earlier, Spain defender and Vinicius’ Real Madrid team-mate Dani Carvajal said his country was not racist.

“I am sure that Spain is not a racist country but there are many racists here and many of them are in the stadiums,” said Vinicius. “From the first time I complained about racism in Spain it’s been blowing up… they are insulting me over the colour of my skin so I play worse on the pitch.

“They can say many other things to me and I wouldn’t say anything, I hope I can go to stadiums and not think about what could happen.”

The player recently condemned Atletico Madrid fans for racist chanting aimed at him before their Champions League clash against Inter Milan earlier in March.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The racism problem that has blighted Spanish football

“It’s a sad reality that happens even during matches where I am not present,” said Vinicius on social media platform X.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said in November Vinicius has become “unfortunately used to” racism in Spain.

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‘Ugliest thing’

Carvajal said earlier Monday he did not think his country was racist but also that racist insults were the “ugliest” thing that exists in sport.

“I don’t think Spain is a racist country,” said Carvajal. “We have a very high level of integration, I come from a humble neighbourhood, Leganes, and grew up with boys of all types of nationalities.

READ ALSO: Spain not a racist country, says Carvajal before Brazil friendly

“I have a lot of friends with different colour skin.”

Carvajal said he thought fans slinging racist insults at players were unleashing their frustrations in an “ugly” way at athletes. “Sadly there are people who go to football it seems to let loose all their rage, their anger,” he continued. “When it seems that it hurts someone, they do it more and it’s a pity.

“Those type of people should not be allowed into stadiums because it’s the ugliest thing that exists in sport.”

Right-back Carvajal is likely to directly face Vinicius if selected to start against Brazil. “Against a player of that quality it’s hard to have a clear plan because in the end he is capable of overwhelming anyone,” added Carvajal.

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“We have to try and close him down, not give him space and having help with that will be the key.”

Spain lost 1-0 last Friday against Colombia in a friendly defeat as they continue preparations for Euro 2024.



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