Real Madrid vs. Rayo Vallecano – Football Match Report – May 24, 2023
Real Madrid earned a 2-1 win over mid-table Rayo Vallecano in LaLiga on Wednesday as fans and players showed their support for Vinicius Junior, who was subjected to racial abuse yet again over the weekend.
“We are all Vinicius. Enough is enough” said a banner displayed behind one of the goals at the Santiago Bernabeu as Real’s players all took to the pitch wearing shirts bearing Vinicius’ No. 20 while the captains of both teams wore armbands carrying anti-racism messages.
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Karim Benzema put Real ahead just after the half-hour mark when he latched on to a pass on the edge of the box and scored from close range before Rayo striker Raul de Tomas levelled six minutes from full time. Rodrygo, however, restored Madrid’s lead just before the final whistle.
Madrid’s Brazilian forward Vinicius was the target of racist insults during the 1-0 loss at Valencia on Sunday.
Dressed in street clothes and visibly agitated, Vinicius joined his teammates on the pitch for a standing ovation after all the players posed next to an official LaLiga banner “Racists, out of football.”
He was not part of the Madrid squad for the match even though the red card he received at Valencia was overturned on Tuesday and the subsequent suspension lifted.
LOS AMO!!! GRACIAS, GRACIAS Y GRACIAS! ✊🏿🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/HsoCUB4l5I
— Vini Jr. (@vinijr) May 24, 2023
A knee issue forced Vinicius to miss training ahead of the fixture, Spanish media reported, and he watched the game sitting next to club president Florentino Perez.
“I was surprised by the decision of the [RFEF’s] competition committee,” coach Carlo Ancelotti told a press conference. “I think it is the right decision.”
He added that the partial stand closure imposed on Valencia as a punishment was an important step forward.
“Hopefully this issue will be solved soon,” Ancelotti said. “The players around Vinicius feel very affected. Everyone is realising what’s happening. Our society is full of intelligent people, above all in Spain.
“When intelligent people take decisions, things get solved sooner.”
Many Madrid fans came to the stadium wearing the Brazilian’s shirt and scarves, sending a clear message that they are unhappy about the abuse he is suffering in stadiums around Spain.
“Vini, it’s my communion. Seeing you is my gift,” one poster held by a young fan said.
Benzema put the hosts ahead just after the half-hour mark when he latched on to a Federico Valverde cross on the edge of the box and finished from close range.
Rayo striker De Tomas levelled six minutes from time but Rodrygo restored Real’s lead in the 89th minute, beating keeper Stole Dimitrievski with a low shot from just outside the box inside the right post.
“[Rodrygo] gives us a lot, he’s progressing well,” Ancelotti said. “Next season he’ll keep growing. He’s been very affected because he’s a good friend [of Vinicius]. He wanted to show solidarity with his teammate.”