Real Madrid, Atletico, LaLiga condemn racism to Vinicius

Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and LaLiga have condemned an incident in which a doll wearing a Vinicius Junior shirt was hung from a bridge near his club’s training ground ahead of Thursday’s Copa del Rey derby between the two clubs.

Photos published on social media showed a banner with the phrase “Madrid hates Real” — a slogan associated with a group of Atletico ultras — displayed alongside the doll before the quarterfinal clash at the Bernabeu.

Atletico described the incident as “repugnant and unacceptable,” calling it a “message of hate” in a statement published on Thursday.

“Such acts are absolutely repugnant and unacceptable and shame society,” the club said. “Our condemnation of any act that attacks the dignity of people or institutions is absolute and without exception.

“The utmost rivalry exists between both clubs, but also respect. No individual, whatever their intentions, can damage the relationship between different supporters. It is everyone’s responsibility to avoid this.

“We do not know the author or authors of this despicable act, but their anonymity does not mean they avoid responsibility. We hope the authorities are able to clear up what happened.”

LaLiga also released a statement, which read: “We vigorously condemn the acts of hate against Vinicius Junior. Intolerance and violence have no place in football. As on previous occasions, LaLiga will investigate these events in an attempt to find those responsible, seeking the most severe criminal penalties.”

After scoring a goal in Madrid’s 3-1 victory over Atletico on Thursday, Vinicius posted a message in his Twitter account. “There is only one Madrid, Everybody knows.”

The 22-year-old forward has previously criticised LaLiga, alleging that the league “continues to do nothing” to tackle racism — comments described as “unfortunate” and “unfair” by LaLiga president Javier Tebas.

Real Madrid also released a statement, which read: “Real Madrid wants to express its thanks for the support received after the deplorable, repugnant act of racism, xenophobia and hate against our player Vinicius. These attacks, like those which our player suffers or any sportsperson can suffer, cannot have any place in a society like ours.”

Tebas responded to the latest incident with Vinicius and tweeted: “A message to those who take to the streets at night to commit hate crimes, we will find you, we will get convictions so that you end up in jail, which is where you should be. ENOUGH NOW!!!”

Last September, Atletico fans were filmed singing “Vinicius, you’re a monkey” outside their Metropolitano stadium ahead of the last derby with Real Madrid.

Prosecutors opted not to press charges in that case, arguing that the chanting, while “unpleasant” and “disrespectful,” lasted “a few seconds” and did not constitute a criminal offence.

Earlier this month, Vinicius was racially abused by Real Valladolid fans after he was substituted in the second half of Madrid’s 2-0 win — an incident that was reported by LaLiga to a local court.

He was also targeted by racist insults during games away at Barcelona in October 2021 and at Real Mallorca in March 2022. On both occasions, LaLiga filed formal complaints, which prosecutors decided not to pursue.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) also published a statement on Thursday.

“[The RFEF] wants to send a message of support for Vinicius, who has been directly threatened by extremists in a deplorable way,” it said. “This kind of incident has no place in our sport.”