Supporting Vinicius Jr, Lights Turned Off At Iconic Christ The Redeemer Statue

The lights of the national landmark in Rio de Janeiro, where Vinicius Jr was born, were switched off at 6pm local time on Monday as the Brazil government and the footballing world came in support to the player and condemned the racist acts that took place in the LaLiga match on Sunday.
The lights at the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer were turned off in support of Vinicius Jr who was subjected to racist abuse
The lights at the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer were turned off in support of Vinicius Jr who was subjected to racist abuseImage: Reuters

The iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro switched off its lights in a show of support to Real Madrid and Brazil forward Vinicius Jr after he was abused racially by opposition fans in Real’s match against Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium in Spain over the weekend.

The lights of the national landmark in Rio de Janeiro, where Vinicius Jr was born, were switched off at 6pm local time (15:00 GMT) on Monday as the Brazil government and the footballing world came in support to the player and condemned the racist acts that took place in the LaLiga match on Sunday.

The Archdiocesan Sanctuary that manages the monument turned off the lights in cooperation with the Brazilian FA and the Observatory of Racial Discrimination in Football. Brazilian outlet Globo quoted the groups as saying, “[This action] is a symbol of the collective fight against racism and in solidarity with the player and all those who suffer prejudice around the world.”

Vinicius Jr later took to Twitter to write about it saying that the act of solidarity moved him. He said that above all, he wanted to inspire and bring more light to the struggle against racism. The translation of his tweet read, “Black and imposing. Christ the Redeemer was like this just now. An action of solidarity that moves me. But I want, above all, to inspire and bring more light to our struggle. I am very grateful for all the current of affection and support I have received in recent months. Both in Brazil and around the world. I know exactly who is who. Count on me because the good ones are the majority and I will not give up. I have a purpose in life, and if I have to suffer more and more so that future generations don’t go through similar situations, I’m ready and prepared.”

Vinicius Jr highlighted what he described as “continuous episodes spread across several cities in Spain” after he was subjected to racist chants during Real’s 1-0 LaLiga defeat at Valencia on Sunday. After the break, the game had to be paused as Vinicius Jr pointed out to the referee those who were hurling abuses at him from the stands.

Meanwhile, Valencia have said that they have identified a fan who made racist gestures, and that the individual will face a lifetime stadium ban from the Mestalla.

On Monday, the Brazilian government called on Spanish and sports authorities to punish those responsible, as the president of world football’s governing body FIFA, Gianni Infantino also came out supporting Vinicius Jr.

Real Madrid have said that the racism directed at Vinicius Jr constituted a “hate crime” and had filed a complaint with the Spanish State Attorney General’s Office.

A statement from the club read, “Real Madrid CF shows its strongest revulsion and condemns the events that took place yesterday against our player Vinicius Junior.”

“Real Madrid considers that such attacks also constitute a hate crime, for which reason it has filed the corresponding complaint with the state attorney general’s office, specifically with the prosecutor’s office against hate crimes and discrimination, so that the facts can be investigated and clear responsibilities,” it added.

The Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sanchez also tweeted, “Zero tolerance for racism in football. Sport is based on the values of tolerance and respect. Hate and xenophobia should have no place in our football or in our society.”

Furthermore, support has been pouring from around the world and the football fraternity with former and current Brazil stars along with other footballers and sporting personalities like Kylian Mbappe, Rio Ferdinand and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, who all expressed solidarity with the 22-year-old- Vinicius Jr.

Spanish Football Federation head Luis Rubiales admitted there is a real problem of racism in the country’s football, where “press releases don’t work anymore”.

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