Real 'must not forget' Vinicius racist abuse on Valencia return: Ancelotti

AFP , Friday 1 Mar 2024

Carlo Ancelotti insisted Real Madrid 'must not forget what happened' as the La Liga leaders return to Valencia Saturday where forward Vinicius Jr was racially abused last season.

Vinicius Junior
FILE - Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior reacts during a Spanish La Liga football match between Real Madrid and Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024. Photo: AP


Racist chants were hurled at Vinicius during Real Madrid's 1-0 defeat at Valencia last May, sparking an international outcry.

The Brazilian international has faced racial abuse since he joined Real in 2018 and the latest incident kicked up a storm over whether Spain is doing enough to stamp out racism in football.

Ancelotti said he was happy with the way Valencia reacted.

"We must not forget what happened last year because when there are racist acts we must condemn and denounce," said the Italian.

"Valencia has done it very well, identifying those who have committed a crime, because racism is a crime," he said.

On the eve of Madrid's return to the scene of the painful events, Ancelotti dismissed suggestions he considered not calling Vinicius up for the match.

"The idea is to go play a great football game against a strong rival," he said.

Meanwhile Ancelotti paid tribute to the 10 victims of an apartment block fire in Valencia last week.

"We are going to play a city that has suffered a tragedy," he said.

"We want to be very supportive of the affected families and that is why I think we have to offer the best possible match."

As well as Vinicius, English midfielder Jude Bellingham is fit again after a brief spell on the sidelines injured.

"He is comfortable with his ankle and he will play tomorrow," said Ancelotti.

While title rivals Girona play at Real Mallorca and third placed Barcelona travel to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, Real Madrid go to Valencia on Saturday six points clear with 12 games to play.

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