Madrid coach Ancelotti angry over attacks on 'victim' Vinicius

AFP , Friday 6 Oct 2023

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti criticised elements of the Spanish media on Friday for attacking Vinicius Junior even though he was the "victim of racial abuse".

Ancelotti   Vinicius
Real Madrid's head coach Carlo Ancelotti, left, talks to Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior during the Champions League group C soccer match between Napoli and Real Madrid at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium in Naples, Italy, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. Photo: AP


Valencia-based newspaper Super Deporte ran a front page on Friday labelling Vinicius "Pinochius" with an image of a long nose over the player's face -- a reference to fictional character Pinocchio, whose nose grows every time he tells a lie.

La Liga club Valencia said Thursday they "rejected" reports Vinicius told a Spanish court "all of the Mestalla stadium hurled racist insults" at him, with Super Deporte claiming Vinicius "lied to the judge".

The Real Madrid forward was questioned Thursday on video-conference by a Spanish judge over racist abuse aimed at him during a La Liga match in May at Valencia's Mestalla Stadium.

Public prosecutors and La Liga filed lawsuits after several people allegedly shouted "monkey" at the player and made other racist gestures during Real Madrid's 1-0 loss.

"Something has happened and here I think they are trying to deflect it, the fact is that Vinicius has been a victim of racist abuse, be it one or 10 (insults), 1,000 or 10,000," Ancelotti told a news conference.

"The fact is we have had a player who is the victim of racial abuse, where there's a court process.

"That there are media outlets who want to distract from it is a shame and makes me angry."

Real Madrid said in May that the chants, in their view, constituted "a hate crime", while Brazil formally protested to the Spanish ambassador.

Three young men were arrested on suspicion of being the perpetrators of the insults. They acknowledged the facts but denied any hateful or racist intent against the player.

One of them was identified by Vinicius at the stadium. The others were identified through CCTV footage.

La Liga leaders Real Madrid host Osasuna on Saturday, with Vinicius continuing to find his best form after injury.

Ancelotti has problems at the back with David Alaba still injured, meaning centre-back Antonio Rudiger will be paired with an out-of-position player -- either Ferland Mendy or Aurelien Tchouameni.

"We've tried Tchouameni there in the last two days of training, he's got a defensive attitude, is good with his head, in duels, what he uses as a pivot he can use in defence," said Ancelotti.

"The other (option) is Mendy, he's a defender and he's used to playing in the back line."

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