Vinicius defies Koke warning after Real Madrid star is subject to racist abuse
Vinicius Junior defied a warning from Atletico Madrid captain Koke to expect “trouble” by dancing when celebrating goals as Real Madrid defeated their city rivals on Sunday evening.
The Brazil international was the subject of disgusting racist chants from sections of Atleti fans ahead of the game as videos emerged on social media of the abhorrent language used. That came after Vinicius was targeted with a racist slur on live Spanish TV by agent Pedro Bravo.
Bravo said during an El Chiringuito discussion of the Brazil international that "in Spain, you have to respect rivals and stop playing the monkey". Following a backlash alleging that this was a racist stereotype, Bravo has subsequently apologised on social media by claiming that he misused a metaphor. It has opened a discussion across Spain and further afield of the language and attitude applied towards footballers with racial undertones.
Vinicius, 22, then vowed to keep his goal dancing celebrations as they show "the happiness of a black Brazilian in Europe", with his celebrations similar to those of his fellow Brazilian stars over the years – including international teammate Neymar.
The talented forward was the target of sickening monkey chants and loud whistles throughout the match, which Los Blancos won 2-1 thanks to first-half goals from Rodrygo Goes and Fede Valverde. In both goal celebrations, Vinicius and his teammates celebrated by replicating their dancing celebration.
Speaking on Friday ahead of the game, Atleti skipper Koke had said Vinicius could expect "trouble" in the derby if he performed his trademark dancing celebration after scoring. Asked if he understood if the home fans would be angry at the dance, the midfielder said: "There would be trouble, for sure, [that is] to be expected."
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Koke further contextualised his comments by adding: "If in the end he scores and decides to dance, well, it's what he wants to do. Would I understand it or not? Everyone has their own way of being and of celebrating goals as they please."
Atletico forward Matheus Cunha – a Brazil international teammate of Vinicius – wrote on Twitter : “Vini's post was never about Koke, it was about a racist who had a microphone on a TV show. Anyone who has seen the interview knows that what our captain said was right. Everyone can do what they want when they score a goal.
“Of course, no fans of a home club would like to see them opposition players dance in their stadium, that is normal. What I wanted most was to score, to help my teammates and dance – as that means my fans would be happy!”
A statement from Real Madrid ahead of the game added that they condemned "regrettable and unfortunate comments made against our player" and would take legal action against anyone making racist comments towards members of their squad. The Brazilian Football Federation called for "dancing, dribbling and above all respect" in a statement of solidarity.
Dani Alves commented that racial stereotypes were in place across European football while Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus dedicated his goal on Sunday to his Brazil teammate.