Real Madrid social post upset Vini Jr. before Valencia match – sources

A social media post by Real Madrid caused a rift between the club and star player Vinícius Júnior in the lead-up to their match against Valencia on March 2, sources have told ESPN’s Gustavo Hofman.

The Instagram post featured a photo of Vinícius kissing Madrid’s badge. However, just below it, the image included a sticker featuring the logo of Israeli DJ duo ‘Vini Vici,’ which uses a graphic depicting human evolution from monkeys to DJs.

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While the post remained online for only 30 minutes, it was seen by Vinícius. The Brazil forward angrily confronted the club’s executives, demanding an explanation and even threatening to sit out the Valencia match, sources said.

The news about the rift between Madrid and Vinícius was first reported by Spanish publication Relevo.

Following Vinícius’ reaction, Real Madrid CEO José Ángel Sánchez intervened, sources added. He aimed to calm the player and clarify the situation after the player expressed discomfort considering his ongoing campaign against racist abuse in soccer.

Sánchez succeeded in de-escalating the situation and, according to sources, agreed on Vinícius’ request to identify those responsible for the post and implement a stricter protocol in Madrid’s policy for approving social media content.

Despite the pre-match incident, Vinícius started the game against Valencia at the Mestalla, scoring twice to secure a 2-2 draw.

Real Madrid declined to comment on the incident when contacted by ESPN.

ESPN’s Rodrigo Fáez contributed to this report.