Brazil on Monday condemned the “racist attacks” Brazilian soccer player Vinicius Jr has repeatedly suffered in Spain and called on the Spanish government and sports authorities to punish those involved, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The ministry called in Spain’s ambassador on Monday to explain the situation following the latest incident on Sunday when racist insults were hurled at the Black top-scoring forward for Real Madrid.
“Taking into account the seriousness of the facts and the occurrence of yet another inadmissible episode, the Brazilian government deeply regrets that, until now, effective measures have not been taken to prevent and avoid the repetition of these acts of racism,” the statement said.
The foreign ministry confirmed that Ambassador Mar Fernandez Palacios was asked to inform on the incident that prompted President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to call on FIFA and LaLiga to act to stop racism taking root in soccer stadiums.
Videos posted on social media and verified by Reuters showed hundreds of Valencia fans singing “Vinicius is a monkey” as the Real Madrid bus arrived at the stadium in Valencia before Sunday’s match.
The game was stopped for 10 minutes after the 22-year-old forward, Real Madrid’s second top scorer in all competitions this season on 23, pointed out fans who hurled racist comments at him. Vinicius Jr was sent off for his reaction during the incident.
Brazil’s deputy Foreign Minister Maria Laura da Rocha said she was amazed by the repeated racist attacks on the player.
“Vinicius Jr received a red card for not enduring all that. The red card should have been given to racism,” she said at a seminar on Brazil’s relations to African nations.
Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Christ the Redeemer landmark had its lights switched off on Monday night in a show of solidarity for the Real Madrid forward.
The Archdiocesan Sanctuary that manages the monument said on Instagram that the lighting was turned off “as a symbol of the collective fight against racism and in solidarity with the player and all those who suffer prejudice around the world”.