‘Feel less and less like playing’: Vinicius Jr in tears over racist abuse

Real Madrid winger says he ‘will stay because that way the racists can continue to see my face more and more’.

Brazilian winger Vinicius Jr broke down in tears and said he was struggling to stay motivated and enjoy playing football due to the recurring racist abuse he is subjected to in Spain.

During an emotional news conference ahead of Brazil’s friendly international against Spain on Tuesday, the Real Madrid winger said he is frustrated as fans keep getting away with hurling racist abuse towards him.

Last season there were 10 such episodes against the 23-year-old reported to prosecutors by La Liga.

“I just want to play football but it’s hard to move forward… I feel less and less like playing [due to the racist abuse],” Vinicius told the news conference on Monday, at times struggling to speak through tears.

“It never crossed my mind [to leave Spain] because if I leave Spain I give the racists exactly what they want.

“I will stay because that way the racists can continue to see my face more and more. I’m a bold player, I play for Real Madrid and we win a lot of titles and that doesn’t sit well with a lot of people.”

Brazil will face Spain at Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday as part of an antiracism campaign.

Last May, Real Madrid’s La Liga game at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium was halted for 10 minutes after Vinicius was racially abused by sections of the crowd.

Vinicius pointed out fans who were abusing him before he was involved in an altercation with Valencia players that led to him being sent off.

The incident led to an outpouring of support for the Brazilian and galvanised a series of local and international campaigns, but Vinicius voiced his frustration as he was subjected to more abuse this season, with La Liga reporting several other cases in the last few months.

“It’s getting sadder and sadder. Everything I’ve been going through with every game, every day, every complaint… and it is getting worse,” Vinicius added.

“The lack of punishments is very frustrating. If we start punishing these people, not that they’ll change their thinking, but they’ll be afraid to speak out, whether it’s in the stadium, where there are cameras… put fear into those people.

“I want to keep fighting for it, but it’s hard. It doesn’t matter if I win or lose the games, I’m already a winner for being here.”

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