Vinícius Júnior to captain Brazil in Spain anti-racism game

Vinícius Júnior will captain Brazil for the first time in Tuesday’s international friendly against Spain, which was organised by the two countries’ federations in response to racism experienced by the Real Madrid forward.

As part of the initiatives, players will pose for the national anthems wearing a black shirt with the slogan “One skin, one identity” written in Portuguese, Spanish and English.

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Vinícius, 23, broke down in tears during an emotional news conference Monday when discussing the racist abuse he has suffered in Spain.

“Playing football is important, but the fight against racism is very important,” he said.

“The only thing I want is to continue playing and for everyone to have a normal life.”

Repeated racist abuse against Vinícius has started a heated debate in Spain about tolerance for racism. Pilar Alegría, Spain’s sports and education minister, on Tuesday stressed the government’s commitment to combating racism while also condemning the racist incidents.

“Violence, racism, xenophobia, any type of discrimination, are the antithesis of the values that sport displays,” she said.

“Every two weeks there are meetings with Spain’s Sports Council, LaLiga and the Spanish Football Federation to sanction this type of violent behaviour.

“We are going to continue along this line to banish xenophobic and racist behaviour from sports, but also from society, as we unfortunately continue to experience this.”