Ex-Leeds United man shares powerful anti-racism message after teammate abuse

Former Leeds United winger Raphinha has stood in solidarity with Brazil teammate Vinicius Jr after the Real Madrid forward was racially abused by home supporters at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium last weekend.
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Inflammatory chanting was caught on camera directed towards the 22-year-old Madrid star, during Real’s 1-0 defeat in which the Brazilian was sent off during stoppage time.

Madrid’s fixture was halted as Vinicius brought abuse to the attention of the match officials however no action was taken at the time. Sections of the Spanish media have blamed Vinicius for antagonising the Valencian support, as he was purported to have made a gesture suggesting the club were going to be relegated.

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It is not the first time the Brazilian has been subjected to racist abuse in LaLiga. Earlier this season, an effigy of the Rio de Janeiro-born attacker was hung from a bridge in January by Atletico Madrid supporters. Subsequent arrests have been made by Spanish police relating to that particular incident and the saddening scenes witnessed at Mestalla last weekend.

On Tuesday evening, during Barcelona’s fixture with Real Valladolid, former Leeds winger Raphinha threw his support behind the Real Madrid man as he was substituted at Estadio José Zorrilla.

The 25-year-old counts Vinicius as a teammate at international level despite their domestic club’s historic rivalry, and his show of solidarity was accompanied by a powerful message inscribed on his undershirt.

"As long as the colour of the skin is more important than the brightness of the eyes, there will be war! We are together, Vini,” Raphinha had written in Portuguese and Spanish, in addition to raising his fist to the sky.

Raphinha was crowned a Spanish champion earlier this season as Barcelona secured the LaLiga title for the first time in four seasons.