Starting with a controversy linked to Vinícius Júnior’s dancing celebrations, the Madrid derby found itself in a much less trivial turn, when the Brazilian became the target of racist insults from Atlético fans. Enough to blow a wind of indignation in Spain, caught in its own trap of overmediatization.

At the final whistle of Derbi Madrid this Sunday evening (Real Madrid 1-2 victory), the boos crossed the stands of the Civitas Metropolitano. Between frustration of the defeat and detestation of the rival, the Atlético supporters especially gave themselves to heart joy to scold Vinícius Júnior, victim, in spite of himself, of a controversy mixing authoritarian reframing and hints of exacerbated racism.

Sad, but usual

To understand what is initially reproached to theauriverde, we have to go back to last Friday, September 16. Present at the microphone of Movistar before the match, Koke, captain of Atlético, is questioned about the sometimes provocative dances of Vini, especially during the last success meringueagainst Mallorca (4-1): “If he scores a goal and he decides to celebrate it by dancing, it’s his decision. Everyone has their own way, and celebrates goals as they wish […] Afterwards, if he does this in front of our supporters, at Wanda, there could be problems, that’s for sure. And it’s even a bit normal. » A correct answer, which Álvaro Morata came to complete in stride: “Vinícius is a good guy, who has absolutely no intention of offending people. And then, everyone celebrates their goals as they want, as long as it’s respectful towards us, the players, and our fans. » Nothing to say, until the media frenzy. Characteristic in Spain.

Koke’s words are indeed taken up on all the Iberian spheres, taken out of context and quickly transformed into a direct warning sent to Vinícius Júnior. The domino effect of social networks not helping, the controversy swells and spins in The Chiringuito : “Koke is right! Vinícius must respect others. If he wants to dance the samba, let him go to the sambadrome. On a football field, he must respect the opponents and not play the macaque. » Signed Pedro Bravo, players’ agent and president of the National Association of Players’ Agents in Spain (AEAF), these few sentences end up transforming the imbroglio into intolerable speech.

Puppet and animalization

Supported by his compatriots (Pelé, Neymar or the Barcelonian Raphinha) and other football players, Vinícius Júnior took charge of speaking via a press release for the occasion: “In a single statement, I have been the victim of all that xenophobia and racism can entail. If I dance when I score, it’s to express my joy and celebrate the cultural diversity of the world. Now, whether you accept, respect or, on the contrary, hate this, I am not going to stop. » A logical reply, which does not however attenuate the stupidity of certain supporters of Atlético, eager to use the affair as a springboard for their extremist ideology. A few hours before kick-off, in front of the south stand of the Metropolitano, the “¡ Vinícius eres un mono, eres un mono! » (“Vinícius you monkey!”) en VF) were chanted loudly by a lamentable fringe of the club colchonerowhile others exhibited a puppet looking like a primate, dressed in a Real Madrid tunic.

A sad throwback for the rojiblancos aficionados, often cataloged because of their solid proximity to the branches of the Spanish far right. The Frente Atlético, an ultra group dissolved in 2014, has indeed been talked about for a long time for dark reasons, going so far as to murder Aitor Zabaleta and “Jimmy”, respectively supporters of Real Sociedad and Deportivo La Coruna, labeled on the left. Despite its dissolution, some members of the group nevertheless continue to fill the stands of the enclosure, suggesting, here and there, Confederate flags or other tendentious symbols. The drop too many, for a press conscious of having stuffed the jukebox with the wrong pieces.

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Pedro Bravo in the lead: “I want to apologize for what I saidthe agent said in a statement. My remark had no racist basis and in no way targeted the person of Vinícius Junior. When I was talking about “macaque”, I was referring to the notion of “crazy”, not animalization. » Same story on the side of Josep Pedrerol, presenter ofThe Chiringuito : “Pedro Bravo asked for forgiveness, and I ask for it too. Dear viewers, if this case offended you, I apologize flatly. If you are a black person, I apologize. If you are a white person, I apologize. The most regrettable being obviously that Vinícius Junior was personally affected. But I want to tell him one thing: Spain is not a racist country. There are scavengers, it’s true, but in no way do we share their values. And as such, I apologize on behalf of the local press, because we have not done our job properly by inflating the controversy. » Like its European neighbours, Spain has therefore not escaped the horrors of football and its stupidity. The indignation aroused will have fortunately been at the height of the controversy, as if to remind that the good often ends up winning. To the delight of game lovers, Vinícius Junior in the lead.

By Adel Bentaha


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Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

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