Condemnation after Atletico fans hang Vinicus effigy from Madrid bridge

(Minor edits: Changes error of semi-final mention for correct quarter-final)

Madrid, Jan 26 (EFE).- Vinicius Junior was the target of fresh harassment by Atlético Madrid fans Thursday after a group of ultras hung a doll wearing his shirt near Real Madrid’s training ground ahead of the derby in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.

Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, LaLiga and the Spanish football federation all issued statements condemning the incident that involved hanging his effigy from an overpass with a banner reading “Madrid hates Real.”

“Real Madrid C.F. would like to express its gratitude for the support and expressions of kindness received after this lamentable, repugnant act of racism, xenophobia and hate against our player Vinicius,” the club said in a statement.

“We express our strongest condemnation of events that violate the fundamental rights and dignity of people, and that have nothing to do with the values that football and sport represent.”

Atletico Madrid, who are due to make the short journey to the Santiago Bernabéu for Thursday night’s cup tie, described the incident as “absolutely repugnant, inadmissible and a shame on our society.”

It added: “We do not know the author or authors of this despicable act, but their anonymity does not preclude their responsibility. We hope that the authorities are able to clarify what happened and that justice helps to banish this type of behavior.”

LaLiga president Javier Tebas reacted to the incident with a tweet that read: “A message to those who take refuge at night to commit hate crimes, we will locate you, we will get convictions, so that you end up in jail, which is where you should be. ENOUGH NOW!!!”

Vinicius has previously accused LaLiga of inaction over racism in Spanish football.

Atletico fans – whose ultras include far-right and neo-Nazi factions – have previously attracted the spotlight for racist chants against Vinicius.

Some Atletico fans were filmed chanting racist slogans aimed at the Brazilian before the league derby at the Civitas Metropolitano in September last year.

Madrid prosecutors shelved the case on December 2, saying that while the chants were “unpleasant” and “disrespectful” they occurred in the context of “maximum rivalry,” lasted “a few seconds” and did not constitute a crime.

Vinicus was once again targeted by racist chanting during Real Madrid’s match away at Valladolid on December 30, 2022.

After the incident, the Brazilian winger, 22, tweeted: “Racists continue to go to stadiums and watch the biggest club in the world up close and @LaLiga continues to do nothing… I will continue with my head held high and celebrating my victories and those of Madrid. In the end it’s MY fault.” EFE


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