SEVEN people have been arrested in Spain on suspicion of racially abusing Vinicius Jr and hanging an effigy of the Real Madrid winger from a bridge near the club’s training ground.
Vinicius, 22, appeared to be close to tears after being subjected to vile racist abuse in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Valencia.
It was the latest in a line of disgusting racist incidents the Brazilian has been exposed to in recent seasons.
In September, he was subjected to disgusting monkey chants by Atletico Madrid fans in another LaLiga clash.
Then, in January, Atleti supporters hung a mannequin wearing Vinicius’ shirt with a noose around its neck ahead of the next Madrid derby.
Four men were arrested on Tuesday morning in relation to the shocking mannequin incident – followed by a further three for events at the Mestalla.
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The three men detained for Sunday’s behaviour were arrested in Valencia for hate crimes and were aged between 18 and 21.
More arrests could still take place as police continue to review the footage from the ill-tempered LaLiga match.
The Spanish national police said: “Three of the detainees [for the effigy] are active members of a radical Madrid club fan group.
“The mannequin appeared next to a 16-metre banner on the bridge which said ‘Madrid hates Real’ near Real Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground hours before a derby match.
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“The inquiries carried out up to now by investigators through DNA evidence, evidence from witnesses and other intelligence material led to the identification of four males as the alleged authors.
“Officers discovered three belonged to an ultras organisation and had already been identified during previous high-risk matches by police operatives seeking to prevent sporting violence.
“They were arrested in an operation carried out today which was coordinated with Madrid’s Court of Instruction Number 38 and a prosecution cyber-crimes section.”
It was not immediately clear if the four men, whose ages and names have not been made public, would appear in court today or tomorrow.
Vinicius was on the verge of tears during Sunday’s defeat as he pointed out members of the crowd who were targeting him to the referee.
The match was stopped for nine minutes as the player and referee also spoke with Carlo Ancelotti.
Vinicius was later sent off after a controversial VAR review for striking Hugo Duro, who escaped without punishment despite grabbing the Brazil star around the neck.
The Real winger – who responded to racist abuse in March 2022 by dancing in front of Mallorca fans – sarcastically applauded and gave a peace sign to the home crowd as he left the field.
‘A COUNTRY OF RACISTS’
The Champions League winner and two-time LaLiga champ launched a furious response on Twitter – labelling Spain “a country of racists”.
Vinicius said: “It wasn’t the first time, nor the second, nor the third.
“Racism is normal in LaLiga. The competition thinks it’s normal, the Federation does too and the opponents encourage it.
“I’m so sorry. The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi today belongs to racists.
“A beautiful nation, which welcomed me and which I love, but which agreed to export the image of a racist country to the world.
“I’m sorry for the Spaniards who don’t agree, but today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists.
“And unfortunately, for everything that happens each week, I have no defence. I agree. But I am strong and I will go to the end against racists. Even if far from here.”
Real Madrid later published an angry statement condemning the lack of “decisiveness” among referees in Spain and the “inaction” of the Spanish FA.
Ancelotti added: “You can’t play football like this.
“This is too serious, they throw a ball on the field, they insult Vinicius all the time, and they take the red card from him.
“What are we talking about? We are in 2023, there can be no racism We have to go home.”
Source: Soccer - thesun.co.uk