Vinícius Júnior is one of the best footballers in the world and will eventually win the Ballon d’Or. But the Brazilian is currently not fighting against other football greats, but against the sheer ugliness of racism. The bad news: he won’t win it – not him, not others.
At this point, one would have to report on Vinícius Júnior’s excellent start to the season. How he is crucial to Real Madrid in the absence of the injured Karim Benzema and already has four goals and two assists after six league games. How he contributed a goal and an assist in two Champions League games.
Vinícius is no longer just quick, tricky and stunning when he’s on the pitch, he’s also extremely effective and profitable for his team. When the World Cup begins in Qatar in November, Brazil will be among the favorites because the South Americans have Vinícius Júnior in their ranks. He has long since arrived in the world elite. And since he’s only 22 years old, it’s hard to imagine where the journey can take him.
But unfortunately there is currently far too little talk about the footballer Vinícius Júnior. You could spend hours and hours telling each other how Vinicius can do this and that, but you’re talking about the dark-skinned boy from São Gonçalo in Rio de Janeiro who is being racisted at by some really bad people. They’ve garnered attention they don’t deserve, but they’ve done it again.
What happened? Pedro Bravo, president of the Association of Spanish Players’ Agents, criticized the 22-year-old’s post-goal dance moves, calling him a “monkey”. Bravo said on the show El Chiringuito: “You have to respect your opponent. If you score a goal and then want to dance the samba, you should go to the Sambódromo in Brazil. You have to respect your opponents and stop playing the monkey.”
Vinícius Júnior: “You have to stop playing the monkey”
In the game, Vinícius Júnior was booed the loudest. When the Brazilian celebrated his goal with his compatriot Rodrygo and showed his dance again, objects were thrown at him. It is a tragedy that the indignation after Bravo’s comments, the worldwide sympathy, did not make some people shy away from further racist attacks on the Brazilian. It is a tragedy that measures are no longer effective.
What are Atléticos dark-skinned players like Geoffrey Kondogbia, Axel Witsel, Thomas Lemar and Co. actually thinking? What is Vinícius Júnior’s compatriot Matheus Cunha thinking? What do you think about it or are you afraid that you will become a victim of racism yourself in the first crisis? It cannot be ruled out, because unfortunately cases of this kind have long since become socially acceptable.
Dani Alves, one of the best right-backs of recent decades, recently burst his collar. He wrote to Twitter: “Gentlemen, the real problem is that Europe is full of racists and they don’t accept that other nationalities stand out more in their country than they do. I’ve experienced that in almost every place there.”
He replied to a journalist who had tried to justify the cries of Atlético fans, mentioning the Brazilian’s dance. What ignorance of the real problem. What is even worse is that Spanish clubs are tackling this problem half-heartedly. Although both clubs condemned any kind of racism, there were not more than a few lines in it.
Both coaches, Diego Simeone and Carlo Ancelotti, did not devote a single syllable to the events before and during the game. At his pre-match press conference, Simeone refused to get involved, saying only that “this is the society we live in”.