Atlético Madrid fan arrested for racially abusing young girl

An Atlético Madrid fan has been arrested after an eight-year-old girl was threatened and racially insulted for wearing a Vinícius Júnior Real Madrid shirt before the Madrid derby last September.

Spanish police said the girl suffered a “serious anxiety attack” after the incident, which took place outside Atlético’s Metropolitano Stadium ahead of the LaLiga game on Sept. 24.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

The girl, who was being carried by a family member, faced “racist insults and death threats,” the police said, while her family member was also struck on the arm before other fans intervened, and the family left the scene.

Police said a man was arrested on Wednesday in connection with a hate crime, after he was identified using video evidence which allowed them to determine where he had entered the stadium.

Vinícius has repeatedly been subjected to racist abuse from opposition fans in recent years. Four people were arrested after an effigy of the Real Madrid forward was hung from a bridge in the Spanish capital before a game with Atletico in January 2023.

A court in Valencia is currently hearing evidence after three fans were accused of racially insulting Vinícius during a LaLiga game at Mestalla last May.

Real Madrid return to Mestalla on Saturday to face Valencia, in their first game back at the stadium since the incident.

“Historically Valencia has an exemplary fan base and what happened is an isolated episode,” Valencia coach Ruben Baraja said.

“Last season, three or four people did something that did not live up to what we expect from Valencia fans. Their behaviour was inappropriate in every way. We don’t identify with them… As a club and fans we have the opportunity [on Saturday] to show the image of what we are.”