Disturbing scenes ahead of Madrid derby as Atletico fans hang doll in Vinicius Jr shirt
Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr has become the victim of a "repugnant" stunt
The build-up to Thursday night's derby between Real Madrid (opens in new tab) and Atletico Madrid (opens in new tab) has taken a grim turn, after Atletico fans hung a mannequin clad in the shirt of Real star Vinicius Junior from a bridge in the Spanish capital.
Draped above the sickening sight was a large banner reading 'Madrid odia al Real' ('Madrid hates Real').
Atletico and LaLiga have both come out to condemn the shocking act, as the sides prepare to meet at the Bernabeu in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey.
In a statement on their official website, Atleti said (opens in new tab):
"[Acts] like this are absolutely repugnant and inadmissible and bring shame upon society. Our condemnation of any act which attacks the dignity of people or institutions is categorical and unreserved."
🚨 𝗕𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗞𝗜𝗡𝗚: An effigy of Vinicius Jr. has been hung from a bridge before the Madrid derby tonight pic.twitter.com/mxv5hFbzldJanuary 26, 2023
Meanwhile, LaLiga tweeted (opens in new tab):
"LaLiga strongly condems acts of hatred and intimidation against [Vinicius Junior].
"LaLiga, as in the past, will press for an investigation into the matter by the relevant state security forces and bodies, seeking convictions for those responsible and requesting the most severe sentences."
This incident comes just months after Vinicius was subjected to vile racist abuse during this season's first league meeting between Atletico and Real.
During September's game at the Wanda Metropolitano, every touch the Brazilian took was met with monkey chants from the stands – while Atleti supporters were recorded chanting 'Vinicius, you're a monkey' outside the stadium.
In response, Vinicius called for life bans for those responsible. "All the racist people must pay in some way," he said (opens in new tab).
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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...