An investigation into the racial insults directed at the Brazilian international during a La Liga game in May led a Spanish judge to interview Real Madrid player Vinicius on Thursday.
After numerous people allegedly yelled “monkey” at the player and made other racially offensive gestures on May 21 during Real Madrid’s 1-0 loss to Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium, the public prosecutors’ office and La Liga filed lawsuits.
At the time, Brazil officially protested to the Spanish ambassador, and Real Madrid declared that the chanting “(constituted) a hate crime” in their opinion.
A judge in Valencia who is looking into a potential hate crime involving the event interviewed Vinicius via videoconference from a court in the Spanish capital.
Vinicius claimed he felt “offended” by the taunts he endured that day because of the “colour of (his) skin,” according to Spanish media who reference judicial sources.
Vinicius allegedly claimed that “all of the Mestalla stadium hurled racist insults” at him, according to a statement from Valencia football club, which “rejected” the claims.
“Valencia supporters cannot be classified as racist and Valencia CF demands that Vinicius publicly rectify his alleged statement this morning,” it added.
Vinicius gestured to an apparent offender in front of the home crowd during the Valencia game as he stood behind one goal.
The second half’s play was halted for several minutes.
After speaking with Mestalla stadium administrators, referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea issued a statement asking for an end to racial epithets before the game resumed ten minutes later.
In a sharply worded remark following the game, Vinicius claimed that “today in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists.”
“The league that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano (Ronaldo) and Messi now belongs to racists,” Vinicius added.
On suspicion of being the perpetrators of the insults, three young guys were detained. Despite admitting the truth, they vehemently denied harbouring any animosity or racism against the player.
At the stadium, Vinicius recognised one of them. CCTV footage allowed for the identification of the others.