Vinicius Jnr racism storm: The big questions answered as Real Madrid forward suffers abuse

The latest racism storm engulfing LaLiga will rumble on after Real Madrid confirmed the club are taking legal action over the ‘hate crime’ suffered by Vinicius Jnr.

The forward was subjected to racist abuse during his side’s defeat by Valencia at the weekend, leading Spanish Football Federation President Luis Rubiales to openly admit that the country is burdened with a ‘serious problem’ with discrimination.

Vinicius issued a stinging criticism of LaLiga and the wider football authority over their perceived lack of action to combat racism, and declared that Spanish football has reached a new low, having previously been a league that was the envy of Europe.

In response, however, Javier Tebas labelled Vinicius’ words ‘very unfair’. 

But with Spain’s most box-office player now threatening to leave the country over racism, Mail Sport‘s Pete Jenson has unpacked that possibility and looked at the lingering plague of racist abuse in stadiums still blighting LaLiga.

Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jnr was subjected to racial abuse during the defeat by Valencia

Vinicius had been targeted by vile chants before insisting that LaLiga now 'belongs to racists'

Vinicius had been targeted by vile chants before insisting that LaLiga now ‘belongs to racists’

Is Vinicius prepared to leave Real Madrid because of racism?

His argument is with LaLiga and not with his club – Real Madrid issued a statement on Monday saying it was ‘repulsed’ by the racism he received and that it needs to be treated as a hate crime with the culprits tried and convicted. 

But if Vinicius feels that the competition he plays in is not protecting him sufficiently then he could play in another. 

That was certainly the way the last words of his social media statement read: ‘I will go all the way against the racists. Even if is far from here.’

Where would he go?

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Paris Saint Germain need a replacement for Messi and have the money. 

Vinicius has spoken privately and very positively about the treatment he receives when playing in England in the Champions League and would favour a move there if he leaves LaLiga. 

Never mind the supporters, he doesn’t get the same respect from players in Spain as he received from Kyle Walker when facing Manchester City.

Could it happen this summer?

He has one year left on his contract. Real Madrid have offered him a new deal until 2027 and the two sides were close to an agreement. 

The Spanish club invested hugely in Vinicius when they signed him for £39m (€45m) when he was only 16 in 2017. 

They have stayed with him through the lean years when he scored just six goals in two seasons as a raw youngster, and they are not going to give him up now he has become one of the best players in the world. 

If he were to refuse to sign a new deal and look to run down his contract that situation would change but for now that is not the case.

Who has backed him?

Carlo Ancelotti has been unequivocal from the start and the relationship between player and coach is stronger than ever. 

He was mistaken in his press conference on Sunday when he accused the whole stadium of racist abuse – he heard ‘Mono’ (monkey) and the chant from Mestalla was ‘Tonto’ (stupid) and he rectified that. But he has been faultless in his support.

Carlo Ancelotti vehemently defended his player and refused to discuss the game post-match

Carlo Ancelotti vehemently defended his player and refused to discuss the game post-match

So the cry was ‘Stupid’ not ‘Monkey’?

No. Those who insulted Vinicius behind the goal during the game were calling him a monkey. One was identified by Vinicius and expelled by stewards and police. 

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There was also no doubt that supporters gathered outside the stadium before kick-off chanted: ‘Vinicius is a monkey’. Where it seems Ancelotti was mistaken was in saying when the whole stadium taunted Vinicius during the game. 

They were chanting ‘Stupid’ and not ‘Monkey’.

Why is Vinicius angry with LaLiga?

La Liga president Javier Tebas says Vinicius is wrong to blame La Liga for inaction because it has now taken 10 cases to the authorities this season. 

His argument is: La Liga does not have the jurisdiction to shut stadiums. What is in its power to do is report incidents and offer audiovisual evidence to the appropriate authorities.

Is this a fair point?

LaLiga says it doesn’t have the power to close grounds after cases of racist abuse. But this begs the question why? 

UEFA closes grounds in the Champions League without having to consult a higher political power. The Spanish League is LaLiga’s competition, can it not set the rules?

LaLiga president Javier Tebas bit back at Vinicius' complaints, labelling them as 'very unfair'

LaLiga president Javier Tebas bit back at Vinicius’ complaints, labelling them as ‘very unfair’

But it does report the incidents, so why has this not been a deterrent?

Because too many cases fizzle out without punishment. 

One case against someone who racially abused Athletic Bilbao winger Nico Williams earlier in the season was closed because police reviewed the culprit’s social media activity and concluded that it was not racist. 

Another case involving abuse aimed at Vinicius at the Camp Nou was closed because despite LaLiga sending images and lip-reading proof of racist abuse, local police could not identify the culprit. 

And a third case, also involving Vinicius, being abused away at Mallorca was closed because the prosecutor did not deem the available proof of monkey chanting and the use of the insult ‘go and pick bananas’ sufficient grounds to continue with criminal proceedings.

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When criminal proceedings do find the accused guilty, what happens?

Mallorca did ban one fan for three years, and another for six months. But if racism was losing clubs money through shut stadiums and lost matchday revenue we might see more life bans. All the time grounds stay open nothing changes.

That sense that nothing has changed, is it fair?

Victor Esquinas Torres was the referee in 2006 when Samuel Eto’o threatened to walk off the pitch away at Zaragoza. 

He told Radio Marca Monday: ‘The problem is the protocol itself because it is the same protocol I had in 2006. It has been shown that this is not enough because you are giving a second and third chance to the people who hear the warning on the loudspeaker. Not changing the protocol benefits the racists’. 

He was referencing the guidelines for referees that in cases of racism the game must be stopped and not restarted until an announcement has been made. Esquinas says his greatest regret was not taking the players off in the Eto’o game.

Vinicius was shown a late red card after the abuse, over which Madrid have taken legal action

Vinicius was shown a late red card after the abuse, over which Madrid have taken legal action

Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o threatened to walk off the pitch at Zaragoza due to racial abuse

Barcelona’s Samuel Eto’o threatened to walk off the pitch at Zaragoza due to racial abuse

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