Carlo Ancelotti said the racism storm surrounding a Spanish TV guest telling Vinicius Jr to ‘stop playing for the money’ was not discussed in the Real Madrid dressing room.
Pedro Bravo, president of the Spanish Agents Association, told the Brazilian winger to stop “playing the monkey” on the controversial late-night football talk show El Chiringuito after Real Madrid’s 4-1 win over Mallorca.
The agent later apologized for his comments, in which he also told Vinicius that his celebration dances were welcome in Brazil but not in Spain.
Speaking to the press ahead of Sunday night’s Madrid derby, Ancelotti lamented racism towards his player before revealing the incident had not been discussed inside the Real Madrid dressing room.
“First of all, I think it’s important to emphasize that I don’t usually see this kind of racism in Spain. The club made a statement and Vinícius made a statement and I agree with them. He’s fine and working as hard as ever with the rest of the team,” said Ancelotti.
“We didn’t discuss this issue in our dressing room. We talked about football there. We didn’t discuss it because I think he already discussed it well in his statement,” the Italian added.
“I have not given him any advice on this matter as I am not his father or brother. I’m not worried about how it might affect the game. I don’t think it concerns him as I watched him with his usual delight.
“We’re playing a football match and it’s an away game, which is what we’re used to. Of course, Atlético fans will support their team. We only think about how to defeat them, nothing more.”
In the days following Bravo’s El Chiringuito insult, figures from across the football landscape flocked to Vinicius’ defence.
“They say happiness interferes,” said Vinicius himself in a video posted to social media.
“The luck of a victorious black Brazilian in Europe is much more disturbing.
“But my will to win, my smile and the sparkle in my eyes are much greater.
“You can’t even imagine that. I was the victim of a xenophobic and racist comment. But none of that started yesterday.’
He added: “Weeks ago they started criminalizing my dances. Dances that aren’t mine.
“They belong to Ronaldinho, Neymar, [Lucas] paqueta, [Antoine] Griezmann, Joao Felix, Matheus Cunha… they belong to Brazilian funk and samba artists, reggaeton singers and black Americans.
“These are dances to celebrate the cultural diversity of the world. Accept it, respect it. I will not stop.’
Meanwhile, Neymar captioned a social media post showing him and Vinicius dancing on international duty with Brazil: ‘Dribble, dance and be yourself, happy with who you are! Go upstairs my friend, we’ll dance to your next destination.’
Brazilian legend Pele also defended Vinicius, saying the ongoing presence of racism will not stop her from “keeping smiling”.
“Football is joy. it’s a dance It’s a real party,” he wrote on social media.
“While racism still exists, we won’t let that stop us from continuing to smile. And we will continue to fight racism this way: for our right to be happy.”
Real Madrid themselves released a statement following the comments threatening legal action against anyone who said anything racist or offensive towards any of their players.
“Real Madrid CF rejects all kinds of racist and xenophobic statements and behaviors related to football, sport and life in general, like the regrettable and unfortunate comments made against our player Vinicius Junior in the last few hours,” reads the Association statement.
“Real Madrid would like to show all their love and support to Vinicius Junior, a player who understands football as a way of life based on joy, respect and sportsmanship.
“Football, the most global sport there is, must be an example of values and coexistence.