Four people arrested for the effigy of Vinicius hanging on the bridge
Four people have been arrested in connection with the hanging of a model wearing a Vinicius Junior jersey from a bridge in January near Real Madrid’s training ground, Spanish police announced on Tuesday.
A banner with the words ‘Madrid hates Real’ – a slogan associated with a group of hardcore ultras from Atletico Madrid – was displayed next to the effigy, ahead of Madrid’s Copa del Rey quarter-final and Atletico at the Bernabeu.
The arrests come amid global outcry over racist abuse suffered by Vinicius in Madrid’s 1-0 La Liga defeat to Valencia at Mestalla on Sunday.
The match was halted for almost 10 minutes when Vinicius identified a Valencia fan behind the goal as racially assaulting him, while videos on social media showed fans abusing the Brazil international before and during the game. match.
Brazilian politicians, including President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, have shown their support for Vinicius, criticizing racism in Spanish football.
The lights of Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Christ the Redeemer statue were turned off for an hour on Monday in a show of solidarity with the player.
In a social media post on Sunday, Vinicius said ‘racism is normal in La Liga’ and that ‘the championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi now belongs to the racists’.
LaLiga have now reported a total of 10 cases of racial slurs aimed at Vinicius to prosecutors over the past two seasons, including the dummy hanging from the bridge and Sunday’s events at Mestalla.
Atletico called the bridge incident “disgusting” and “unacceptable” in a statement released after it happened.
This followed a group of Atletico fans filmed directing racist abuse at Vinicius outside their Metropolitano stadium ahead of the previous derby with Madrid in September.
Prosecutors chose not to press charges in the case, arguing that the chants, while “unpleasant” and “disrespectful”, lasted “a few seconds” and did not constitute a criminal offence.