Real Madrid have condemned racist comments about their striker Vinicius Junior as the Brazilian star said in a video statement he would not change his celebration and critics are bothered by a ‘victorious black Brazilian in Europe’.
While appearing as a panelist on a Spanish football show on Friday, chief agent Pedro Bravo said Vinicius disrespected his opponents with his celebrations, likening his behavior to that of a monkey – which immediately sparked anger. negative reactions on social networks.
Vinicius, 22, said Bravo’s criticism was not the first time he had been targeted with racist remarks about his celebrations, while mentioning other players who perform similar dances after scoring.
“They say happiness bothers,” Vinicius said in a video posted to social media. “The happiness of a black Brazilian winning in Europe disturbs much more.
“But my desire to win, my smile and the sparkle in my eyes are much bigger than that. You can’t even imagine it. I was the victim of a xenophobic and racist comment. But none of that only started yesterday.”
“Weeks ago they started criminalizing my dances. Dances that aren’t mine.
“They belong to Ronaldinho, Neymar, [Lucas] Paqueta, [Antoine] Griezmann, Joao Felix, Matheus Cunha… they belong to Brazilian funk and samba artists, reggaeton singers and black Americans. These are dances to celebrate the cultural diversity of the world. Accept it, respect it. I’m not going to stop.”
— Vini Jr. (@vinijr) September 16, 2022
In its own statement, Real Madrid threatened legal action against anyone who makes racist comments about its players.
“Real Madrid CF rejects all kinds of racist and xenophobic expressions and behavior in football, sport and life in general, such as the regrettable and unfortunate comments made in recent hours against our player Vinicius Junior,” said Real Madrid said in a statement. statement.
“Real Madrid want to show all their love and support for Vinicius Junior, a player who understands football as an attitude towards life based on joy, respect and sportsmanship.
“Football, which is the most global sport in existence, must be an example of values and coexistence. The club has instructed its legal services to take legal action against anyone who uses racist expressions towards our players. “
Bravo, who is the president of the Association of Spanish Agents, later took to Twitter to provide a clarification, saying he used the term ‘monkey’ to say Vinicius was ‘doing stupid things’.
“I want to make it clear that the expression ‘playing the monkey’ which I misused to describe Vinicius’ goal celebration dance was done metaphorically,” he said.
“Since my intention was not to offend anyone, I sincerely apologize. I’m sorry!”
But his comments were also condemned by Brazilian great Pele and the Brazilian Football Federation, who came to Vinicius’ defence.
“Football is joy. It’s dancing. It really is a party. Despite the fact that racism still exists, we won’t let it stop us from continuing to smile,” Pelé wrote. . “And we will continue to fight racism in this way, fighting for the right to be happy.”
The Brazilian federation also used the hashtag #DanceViniJr. and wrote: “There will be dancing, dribbling, but above all respect. Thursday evening (15), our athlete @vinijr was the target of racist remarks. The CBF stands in solidarity and supports: #BailaViniJr.”
Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar, meanwhile, encouraged national team-mate Vinicius to keep dancing after scoring.
— Vini Jr. (@vinijr) September 16, 2022
Neymar, who was angered after being booked for the goal celebration in PSG’s 3-1 win at Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League, tweeted: “DANCE VINI Jr.”
The Brazilian star gave Vinicius more advice, writing in an Instagram post, “Dribble, dance and be you. Happy as you are. Keep it up boy, next goal we’re dancing.”
Vinicius responded to Neymar’s comments on Twitter with the word “Still” and a photo of the couple dancing while playing for Brazil.
Speaking earlier on Friday, Atletico Madrid captain Koke said Vinicius could expect ‘problems’ in Sunday’s derby against Real Madrid if he performs his dance celebration after having Mark.
Asked if he would understand the reaction of Atletico fans at the Wanda Metropolitano if Vinicius celebrated in his usual way, Koke said: “There would be problems for sure, [that is] to be expected.”
But Koke said Vinicius, like any other player, is free to celebrate goals as he wishes.
“If at the end he scores and decides to dance, well, that’s what he wants to do,” Koke said.
“Would I understand it or not? Everyone has their own way of being and celebrating goals as they please.”
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti says he doesn’t understand the controversy surrounding Vinicius’ goal celebration.
“He’s a Brazilian, he dances really well and I don’t think anyone minds that,” Ancelotti said.
“He has nothing to change in his attitude because he respects his rivals and the referee a lot.
“He’s a special player because of the way he plays, although sometimes, because of the way he plays, his rivals can get angry.”
Atletico head to Sunday’s league showdown five points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid after five games played.
Information from ESPN Adriana Garcia and Reuters was used in this report.