Much of the talk coming into the weekend has not been about the upcoming Madrid derby, but rather Vinicius Junior. In a storm whipped up as much as anything, Vinicius‘ dancing celebrations became the topic of debate, with some comments bearing racist undertones.
Or so it was perceived by Vinicius Junior. On Friday, the Brazilian released a lengthy statement condemning the abuse and criticism he is receiving and promising to continue dancing. A statement that received support from Pele, Neymar Junior and Real Madrid themselves.
However Carlo Ancelotti has somewhat contradicted his player. Marca carried his comments in his pre-match press conference ahead of their tie with Atletico Madrid and here was his answer when asked how Vinicius was doing.
“I have to make it clear that I do not see this form of racism in Spain, I stand by the statement made by the club and the one from Vini. He is fine, looking forward to playing the match.”
In Vinicius’ statement, he wrote and said:
“I was victim of xenophobia and racism in a single statement. But none of that started yesterday.”
“A few weeks ago they began to criminalise my dances.”
Both of which referenced comments made in Spain and within the Spanish media.
Ancelotti was asked a number of questions on the matter thereafter, including whether it had been talked about in the dressing room.
“It is not something we touch on in the dressing room, these are not topics that are talked about in the dressing room normally, you tend to talk about football.”
The Italian was then pressed on Vinicius’ state of wellbeing.
“One thing is racism and another thing is what happens on the pitch in football. This topic of racism we have not touched on because the player has responded very well.”
And whether he was worried about any insults that the Brazilian might receive from the stands on Sunday or whether he had given Vinicius any advice.
“No, because I am not his father, nor his brother, I am his manager.”
In a final question about Vinicius, Ancelotti chuckled when he was queried as to whether this would be happening to a player that was not at Real Madrid.
“I don’t know what is happening to him, for me nothing is happening to him. He is playing with happiness.”