NEWS STORY. 23/05/2023
Carlo Ancelotti appeared in the media room at Real Madrid City on the eve of the clash with Rayo Vallecano at the Santiago Bernabéu on LaLiga matchday 36 (Wednesday, 7:30pm CEST). The coach explained: "We're concerned about what has happened, just like everyone else. There has been lots of talk about the situation and it's right and fair to talk about it. It could be a great opportunity to take big strides to improve things. Vini Jr. is pretty upset. He didn't train today because he had some discomfort in his knee and we're waiting to find out his sanction. Then we can open another debate there. We want to prepare for tomorrow's game with all the motivation we possibly can."
"Vini Jr. is a victim of what's going on, he's not the guilty party. Sometimes he's made out to be guilty because people say he asks for it. Of course we hear that. He is a victim of it all, as are the fans who behave impeccably. When I speak about the Mestalla stadium, I'm not talking about the 46,000 people, but rather a group who have behaved appallingly, as was the case in Mallorca and in Valladolid. Racism aside, insults are becoming the norm. I agree with what Xavi said, that's an example to follow."
"Why have we allowed insults to become the norm in football? I've been told they were saying 'fool' rather than 'monkey'. That's still insulting, even if it's not racial abuse. We're tired of being insulted every single day. From behind the dugout you hear 'son of a... I hope your parents die'. It's not war. This is sport and we have the chance to stop all of this. I hope the institution act decisively. The FIFA president was crystal clear yesterday. I hope the Spanish Federation, LaLiga and the referees can follow suit. In Valencia they forgot to show the complete images. Spain isn't racist, but there is racism in Spain, as there is everywhere."
"Stopping the game could be a good solution but I'm not the one to decide that. It's a crucial moment to take drastic measures to improve the situation. One of the measures that can be taken and I think they will do so in Valencia, is to reveal the name and surname of those who perpetrated the abuse. There will be lots of names to give. That could be one measure but there are all kinds of measures we could take to try and resolve this issue. The authorities have been pretty unaware of what's really going on. They have made mistakes."
Is the protocol obsolete?
“I think it's totally obsolete. If you're going to apply it, do so when the team arrives at the stadium on the bus. That's when the insults started and that puts paid to the theory of anyone who claims Vini Jr. provokes it. That happened two hours prior to kick-off and it wasn't an isolated case. I heard an interview with someone from Valencia saying it was an isolated case and I apologise for saying it was all 46,000, but we're not just talking about one or two people. That's where the protocol should begin. If you apply it in the 70th minutes, you've got it wrong. It has to be implemented before and during the game."
Have you spoken to Vini Jr.?
“I spoke with him after the game. He's really upset but he knows he has the support of everybody, not just at Real Madrid. Teammates, opposition... He has unconditional support. He hasn't let it get him down. We'll see what his sanction is and we'll assess whether to give him some time off. If he gets a two-match ban I'll give him a week off and if it's only one, he'll train to play against Sevilla."
Vini Jr.'s sending-off at Mestalla
"Manipulating an image is pretty serious. Vini Jr. was attacked first by the goalkeeper and then by Hugo Duro. If you are attacked, you have to defend yourself. That is what happened."
What happened to make him public enemy number one at so many stadiums?
“I don't know. I don't think Spain is a racist country but there is racism at the football grounds, where it seems anything goes. This must stop and perhaps because he's become so important for us in recent years, they see him as the enemy and that can happen in sport. There are sporting enemies but to take it into insults then makes it something completely different."
Who has disappointed you the most?
“I'm waiting to see what happens and I hope something does. I'm worried because we're talking about this and everybody involves wants to sort this situation out. It's terrible for everybody. Everyone who loves football and wants football to be as clean as possible is waiting to see what happens. Taking measures against it is what's to be expected. Here, I'm looking at the Federation, LaLiga, the intelligence of football fans and each person's education."
“Condemning it isn't enough. We started condemning this long ago but after that condemnation, we have to act and we still haven't done that yet to ensure we eradicate the problem. It's an issue of racism and insults in general. There are countries where you don't hear insults. There are less insults in England because they resolved this issue long ago, when the English sides were banned from European competition for five years back in 1985. There are isolated cases of racism there but there are less insults. So much so, that there aren't any police at English league games. Here it's as if you're going to war. There's a truck in front of you, another at the back and down the sides. What's it all for? Fortunately, in England they took very drastic measures and they fixed the problem."
Do you know if Vini Jr. is considering a move away from Real Madrid?
“I don't think so. He loves football and especially Real Madrid. He's not considering that because his love for Real Madrid is so great and he wants to spend his career here and play a key role in this team. He's in love with Real Madrid, he loves this club and he fights for Real Madrid. He knows his future is here and deep down he feels he wants to work and play for Real Madrid”.
Racism in Spain
“I'm convinced Spain is not a racist country, in the same way Italy isn't, but there are instances of racism which we must eradicate. The institutions must implement measures."
Do you regret not stopping the game?
"I thought about it and I spoke to Vinicius. I asked him if he wanted to continue and he said yes. He said the same to the referee and that's as far as it went. It's a personal reaction that you might have in the moment. In future, I may take the player or the team from the pitch but it's not my responsibility. I hope we don't have to come to such a drastic response because I don't want it to go that far. There is a judge on the pitch who has this kind of responsibility."