Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said on Tuesday he expected Brazilian forward Vinicius Jr to remain at the Spanish club despite facing racist abuse in several La Liga matches.
“I don’t think (he will leave Spain), because he loves football and he loves Real Madrid. His love for the club is very big and he wants to make his career here,” Ancelotti told a news conference.
He said Vinicius was “very sad” yet overwhelmed by the “unconditional support” he was receiving “even from rivals.”
“He is the victim of what’s going on. Sometimes I see people putting the blame on him, saying that he provokes, about his attitude... no!” he said, adding that the fact that the insults had started as soon as the club bus arrived at the stadium invalidated arguments that Vinicius had provoked the fans.
The lights on the statue of Christ the Redeemer were switched off for an hour in support of Vinicius Jr. On Monday, Vinicius tweeted the picture with the caption: “Black and imposing. Christ the Redeemer was just like that”. Twitter
Seven people were detained by Spanish police earlier on Tuesday, accused of different hate crimes against Vinicius.
The arrests come a day after football federation chief Luis Rubiales said Spanish football has a racism problem, the 10th complaint filed by Real Madrid for racist abuse against Vinicius in Spain this season.
Ancelotti urged authorities to take more effective actions against racism and hate speech in football and said the protocols in place to deal with the issue were obsolete.
“I want actions! And nothing has been done yet. There are countries where they don’t insult you, like England, for example, where they solved it a long time ago: when they expelled England from European competition for five years.”
He said he was contemplating taking his team off the pitch next time Vinicius or any of his players become victims of racist abuse.
Show of solidarity
The lights on Rio de Janeiro’s iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer were switched off for an hour on Monday night in a display of solidarity with Vinicius.
The lights were turned off to cap a day when the Brazilian government and the world of football united to condemn the racial slurs aimed at the player.
The Archdiocesan Sanctuary that manages the monument carried out the act in cooperation with theBrazilian FA and the Observatory of Racial Discrimination in Football.
“The Christ the Redeemer Archdiocesan Sanctuary repudiates the racist attacks suffered by the Brazilian player Vinicius Junior,” the body said in an Instagram post.
Vinicius later posted a picture of the statue silhouetted against the moon on Twitter and expressed his gratitude for the support he had received.
“Black and imposing. Christ the Redeemer was like this just now. An action of solidarity that moved me. But I want, above all, to inspire and bring more light to our struggle,” he wrote.
Sporting figures such as Kylian Mbappe, Rio Ferdinand, and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton also voiced their support for Vinicius.
Written with inputs from Reuters