Eto’o, Vinicius and 17 years of racism in Liga

17 years after Eto’o narrowly missed the game, La Liga has filed nine complaints over racist slurs directed at another star, Vinicius, on Spanish football pitches.

Vinicius was repeatedly attacked by racist slurs. Photo: Reuters.

On February 25, 2006, at La Romareda Stadium, during a match between Zaragoza and Barcelona, ​​Samuel Eto’o threatened to leave the field after receiving racist insults.“I don’t play anymore”.

On May 21, 2023, the Mestalla Stadium, Valencia, Vinicius Junior suffered racist insults from the stands and threatened to leave the dressing room. “Still old story. They call me monkey.”

17 years a story

Between Eto’o and Vinicius, 17 long years have passed, Spanish football has developed in many ways, except for one thing: There are people, even in the minority, who continue to use skin color to insult the players.

“Insulting people because of their skin color is a growing trend and won’t stop until it’s severely sanctioned.” Eto’o responded in 2006. There are many examples over the years: Dani Alves, Inaki Williams, Diakhaby, Akapo, Samuel Umtiti, Marcelo, Pape Diop, Paulao, Nyom…

At the time, Zaragoza suffered the largest fine in the history of Spanish football for the matter: 9,000 euros. A “ridiculous” amount as described by Joseph Blatter, former FIFA President. Eto’o himself at that time commented: “Must be strong, not just money. We must find solutions together to see if ordinary justice can help”.

Now, in mid-2023, Eto’o’s claims help develop the context Vinicius suffered in Mestalla. The Brazilian was sent off with a direct red card for slapping Hugo Duro and facing the stands, after which he signaled “go to the Second Division” in response to the criticism. Lots of chants insulting Vinicius, even the most obscene words. As Vini entered the tunnel, dozens of people turned to him: “You are a monkey”.

The issue of racism is real.

Mr. Javier Tebas, President of La Liga, is being criticized for allowing racism to appear frequently. Photo: Reuters.

The battle is not only Vinicius’s own

Encouraged by those around him, including Real Madrid, Vinicius posted a scathing statement on his social media in which he described Spain as “a racist country”. . The Brazilian, with over 40 million followers among all social media profiles, is heavily influenced by everything that is going on.

“I fight to the end even if I have to leave” ,” Vini implied, but in fact he did not consider leaving Madrid. The 22-year-old forward receives the support of teammates, other footballers, clubs and stars from other sports with special affection from Brazil and England.

The President of Brazil, Lula da Silva, spoke out. In England, a place that has always wanted to see Vinicius play in the Premier League, legends like Rio Ferdinand reacted harshly: ” Who protects you in Spain, Vini? We’ll have to see him go through that. How many times do bad things like this happen? He needs help and the authorities don’t do it. Vini can’t be trampled on anymore.”

The fact is that there are many stories in the message of Ferdinand, the former MU captain. Only this season, La Liga, which is unable to penalize or close individual stands, or the entire stadium (authority belongs to the Royal Spanish Football Federation – RFEF), has submitted 7 complaints. complaints stemming from racist insults directed at Vinicius.

7 complaints in 35 games. If we take into account all that happens in the matches that Vini and Real Madrid play away from home, the ratio is 7 in 16, close to 50%. That’s a total of 9 complaints if we add up the previous season.

Complaints are filed with the RFEF Disciplinary Committee, the State Commission Against Violence, Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance in Sport and the Prosecutor’s Office Against Hate Crimes and Hate Crimes and Discrimination.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti and Real Madrid players always protect Vinicius. Photo: Reuters.


The first complaint was made after the October 2021 “El Clasico” match at Camp Nou, filed because police were “unable to identify” the attackers. Months later, in Mallorca, the Prosecutor’s Office received a complaint because “sounds were made, obscene, vile, unpleasant and regrettable, which did not seem to imply a recognized criminal aspect. “.

Last September’s Madrid derby was a turning point in the controversy aimed at Vini, but the racist insults people heard from the stands at the Wanda Metropolitan Stadium have also not been dealt with for “not integrating the crime”. against dignity”.

After the match with Valladolid, in December 2022, La Liga once again increased the strength of the complaint and “Pucela” (nicknamed Valladolid club) carried out an investigation with 11 people identified.

The derby is here again, this time with a Vinicius banner and effigy hanging from a bridge near the Valdebebas sports center. The case is still being investigated by Madrid’s Court No. 28, with four people in their 20s who have just been arrested.

In early February, before joining Real Madrid to Morocco to conquer the FIFA Club World Cup, Vinicius returned to Mallorca, where he was once again insulted. After La Liga’s complaint at the Palma Court and the Brazilian player’s statement, one of the fanatics received a fine of 4,000 euros and a 12-month ban from participating in sports venues and withdrew his membership card with two people. other.

The punishment was not deterrent enough, causing Vinicius to continue to suffer racist insults. As La Liga denounces, it is El Sadar (Osasuna), Benito Villamarin (Betis) and Camp Nou (Barca).

Real Madrid has “discomfort and anxiety” about this whole situation. The club emphasized that it was prepared for “consequences” from everything experienced with Vinicius in recent months. The Royal Spanish Club released a statement and denounced the insults to the Prosecutor’s Office. But it won’t just stop there. Real Madrid is waiting for the investigation to be resolved and Vini is feeling the love from the Madridistas in home matches.

At the heart of Valdebebas, Real Madrid understood that the team had not acted more harshly on previous sanctions. “Los Blancos” decided to speak out against La Liga and RFEF.

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