Real Madrid’s Vinícius Júnior Says Racism Is ‘Normal’ in Spain After Abuse at Valencia

The incident drew criticism, and messages of support, from around the world.

Speaking at a news conference at the close of a G7 summit in Japan, Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, said he wanted to send a message of solidarity to Vinícius, saying it was “unjust” that he “gets insulted at every stadium where he plays.”

“It’s not possible, in the middle of the 21st century, to have such strong racial prejudice in so many football stadiums,” Lula said.

Current and former players also rallied around Vinícius, taking aim at the authorities in Spain for not doing more to stamp out racism, which some commentators in the country have routinely described as merely an effort to gain an advantage on the field.

Kylian Mbappé, who almost moved to Spain last season to join Vinícius in Madrid, posted a message of support on Instagram. He was joined by Neymar, a Brazilian star who also faced racial abuse when he played in Spain for Barcelona.

La Liga issued a statement detailing what it said were its efforts to stamp out racism in its stadiums. The league said it was working with the authorities in Valencia to investigate what took place, and it vowed to take legal action if any hate crime was identified. Still, it is limited in the type of penalties it can levy against clubs. Stadium closures, for example, can be sanctioned only by the national soccer federation.

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