Real Madrid player Vinicius Jr has been repeatedly targeted by rival fans
Vinicius Jr. lof Real Madrid and Brazil during the LaLiga match between Athletic Club and Real Madrid at San Mames Stadium on January 22, 2023 © Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Atletico Madrid have condemned the “repugnant” actions of people responsible for hanging a mannequin wearing the jersey of Real Madrid and Brazil winger Vinicius Jr from a bridge ahead of Thursday’s Copa del Rey match between the two Madrid rivals.
A banner reading “Madrid hates Real” was also attached to railings of the bridge alongside the effigy of the footballer, who was also targeted with racial abuse by supporters during a match between the sides in September.
Ahead of Thursday’s game, in which Vinicius is expected to be named in the matchday squad, Atletico Madrid issued a statement calling for those responsible for the hanging of the effigy to be brought to justice. The club requested that its supporters express respect for Real Madrid.
🗣️ Atléti fans hung a Vinícius Jr. doll with a message: “Madrid hates Real.” pic.twitter.com/wxux0ShBFY
— EmperorA. (@EmperorAFC) January 26, 2023
“The rivalry between the two clubs is the greatest, but so is respect,” read the statement published on Atletico’s website.
“No individual, whatever their intentions or colors, can tarnish the coexistence between different supporters. It is everyone’s responsibility to avoid this.
“In view of the image that appeared today in various media outlets in which a message of hatred was launched, Atletico Madrid communicates that such acts are absolutely repugnant and inadmissible and shame society. Our condemnation of any act that attacks the dignity of persons or institutions is categorical and unreserved.
“We do not know the perpetrator or perpetrators of this despicable act, but their anonymity does not avoid their responsibility. We hope that the authorities succeed in clarifying what happened and that justice helps to banish this type of behavior.”
Atletico fans have hung a Vinicius Jr effigy from a bridge in the city of Madrida banner that read: 'Madrid hates Real Madrid'The inflatable doll, donning a Vinicius Jr shirt, appeared under one of the bridges in the Spanish capital on Thursday pic.twitter.com/2TUD2Knrit
— Lilian Chan (@bestgug) January 26, 2023
Spanish prosecutors initially opened an investigation into the racial abuse aimed at the Brazilian player last September but were forced to abandon it due to an absence of evidence.
LaLiga also called upon those behind the effigy to be hit with the most “severe sentences” possible under Spanish law, saying it “will press for an investigation by relevant state security forces and bodies.”
In their own statement, Real Madrid thanked Atletico for their action on the matter and said situations such as this “have no place in a society such as ours.”
“Real Madrid trusts that those who have participated in such a despicable act will be held accountable,” the club added.
Vinicius, 22, has scored 48 goals in 197 appearances for Real Madrid since he joined from Brazilian team Flamengo in 2018. He has won two LaLiga titles and a UEFA Champions League during his time in the Spanish capital.