When Vinicius Jr takes the field against Liverpool in the Champions League on Tuesday night, he will be met with the respect he deserves..
In reality, Kopites have every reason to be sick of seeing the Brazilian. They have faced the forward three times in the last two years. He has three goals, including the game-winning goal in last year’s Champions League final, and has never lost to Jurgen Klopp’s team.
When the 22-year-old first arrived at Real Madrid in 2018, many questioned his finishing ability. Karim Benzema was caught in the tunnel at halftime against Borussia Monchengladbach in October 2020, infamously telling teammate Ferland Mendy: “Don’t give it to him, it’s like he’s playing.”
Six months later, he scored twice against Liverpool to knock them out of the Champions League quarterfinals. And by May 2022, he was holding the European Cup in his hands after scoring the game-winning goal against the Reds in Paris.
Vinicius Jr scored 22 goals for Real Madrid last season as they won the La Liga and Champions League double. Benzema was the only player to score more goals at the Bernabeu.
In a year, he went from being a player who was frequently mocked by opposing fans to being repeatedly subjected to vitriol and bile. The treatment he is now receiving is heinous..
Back at the start of the season, some Atletico Madrid fans chanted ‘Vinicius is a monkey’ as they entered the club’s stadium for a Madrid derby, while a mannequin dressed in a Vinicius shirt was later hung from a bridge before another Real v Atletico game. Six suspects have since been identified by police and could face hate crime charges.
Some people have the strange impression that Vinicius is a ‘provocative’ player. In the eyes of those who question him, what is his main crime? Specifically, the fact that he celebrates by dancing.
However, such abuse is not limited to Madrid derbies.
On a late-night Spanish football show, agent Pedro Bravo would even say that if Vinicius wanted to dance a samba, he should return to Brazil. “He should be respectful instead of acting like a monkey,” Bravo said.
Meanwhile, chants of ‘Vinicius die’ were heard as Real Madrid won 2-0 away at Osasuna in their final game before traveling to Liverpool on Saturday.
“Someone even shouted abuse at him during the minute’s silence,” goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said after the game. We can’t just look at his behavior; there were parents giving the finger in front of their children..
Vinicius would post on Twitter after defeating Osasuna, saying, “The insults continue… but so does the dance… We’ll see you in Liverpool! MADRID, MADRID!”
You can’t help but admire his mindset. He continues to stand tall in the face of the most heinous treatment. He has 16 goals this season and is Madrid’s most dangerous player ahead of their trip to Anfield.
But he shouldn’t have to bear it all alone. No wonder he’s reportedly unhappy in Spain, irritated by La Liga’s lack of action, which claims it’s beyond their jurisdiction to close stadiums or dock points. They are, without a doubt, gutless cowards..
Jurgen Klopp was asked about Vinicius’ continued abuse during his pre-match press conference ahead of his match against Real Madrid today.
“Some people say that’s what’s going on, that there’s a factor that an aspect of his game is sometimes provocative that causes some reaction,” one journalist said of the German. “At Real Madrid, you faced Vinicius Jr. “Have you ever observed him engaging in any provocative behavior?”
Klopp’s response was exactly what you’d expect from the Liverpool manager, who spoke out more than any other manager in La Liga.
“That he’s doing something on the pitch that could lead to, what kind of things are happening to him? “Racism?” he exclaimed, stunned..
Whatever he’s doing on the pitch, nothing in the world could justify that. It would be nothing.
“Imagine Yes, I believe this aspect of his game is to blame. That is completely insane. No, nothing!
“He is a world-class player. In 1v1 situations, you should never leave him alone. That night, despite his young age, he was unfazed by the outcome of the game. They weren’t always dominant, but he was there when it counted.
“At such a young age, he is already a Real Madrid legend. I hope he isn’t bothered by any idiots who say something negative about him.”
On Tuesday night, Liverpool will do everything they can to stop Vinicius Jr. Trent Alexander-Arnold sees this’rematch’ as an opportunity to silence his critics, who have been questioning his defensive abilities ever since his role in the Brazilian’s Champions League final winner.
Thankfully, the Reds’ right-back has not suffered the same injuries as the man he will face..
Vinicius will get exactly what he deserves at Anfield from Kopites who want nothing more than to see him suffer the most peaceful of nights. A world-class player who scored the game-winning goal in the Champions League final against them only eight months ago, he will be regarded with suspicion..
If he wins again and dances at Anfield, so be it. His ability to play football has nothing to do with how he is treated. He is simply a human being who deserves far better.
Not for the first time, Klopp has nailed it when it comes to the most important issues. He has nothing but admiration for Vinicius. It’s past time for La Liga and Spain to follow suit..
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