Vini Junior Weeps Over Racism

Vini Junior 


Brazil’s Vinícius Júnior broke down in tears at Monday’s news conference as he admitted he has “less will to play” because of racist abuse directed toward him in Spain.

The Real Madrid forward, however, said he is not considering leaving LaLiga despite the racist chants he has heard by opposing fans since he arrived at Madrid more than five years ago.

“I’ve been here for a long time watching this and I feel more and more sad,” Vinícius said. “I have less and less will to play. With each complaint made I feel worse, but I have to appear here and show my face.

“I have asked for help from UEFA, FIFA, CONMEBOL, CBF — they can fight against that. The problem that exists in Spain is that racism is not a crime.”

Vinícius spoke in Madrid ahead of Brazil’s international friendly against Spain, a game organised by the two federations to raise awareness of racism.

“I am sure that Spain is not a racist country, but there are many racists and many of them are in the stadiums,” he said. “We have to change because many of them don’t know what racism is. At 23 years old I have to teach many Spaniards what racism is.”

Vinícius has been a leading voice in the fight against racism. Last year, the Vinícius Júnior law was passed in Brazil to combat racism at sporting events.

“Playing football is important, but the fight against racism is very important,” he said. “Let people of colour have a normal life. If this were the case, I would go to my club’s games focused only on playing. The only thing I want is to continue playing and for everyone to have a normal life.

“That in the very near future we can have fewer cases of racism, and that Black people can have a normal life like everyone else. I want to keep fighting for that. Even because, as I said before, if it was just for me, I would have given up, because I stay at home, where no one will swear at me, I go to the games with my head centred on the game so that I can do the best for my team.

“It’s not always possible, so I have to concentrate hard every day,” he added before breaking down in tears and getting the applause of people at the news conference.

Vinícius then spoke about the media’s approach to reporting on the abuse he has suffered.

“I think they have to talk less about everything I do wrong on the pitch, that of course I have to evolve and improve, but I’m only 23 and it’s a natural process,” he said.