Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has condemned the rising occurrence of racism in La Liga, calling for it to end once and for all.
Xavi’s call comes after Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior suffered racist abuse from Valencia fans during their La Liga encounter on Sunday.
Los Blancos were a goal down when the 22-year-old was subjected to racist chants from the home crowd at the Mestalla Stadium.
Vinicius called the referee’s attention to the discriminatory comments, and the game was halted, with the fans warned that the match would be suspended if their disgraceful behaviour did not change.
The Brazilian released a statement after the game, insisting racism has become ‘normal’ in La Liga, and Xavi has now called for action to be taken to curb the recurring issue.
“It’s a shame that it’s still happening in 2023 – it’s unfortunate,” Xavi said in a press conference ahead of Tuesday’s meeting with Real Valladolid (via SPORT).
“It’s about people, and we condemn any act of racism like the one Vinicius experienced yesterday at Mestalla. It’s time to eradicate racism once and for all.”
Vinicius took a swipe at the Spanish top flight and the country as a whole, which sparked a response from La Liga president Javier Tebas who took to his Twitter account to debunk the winger’s claims.
“Neither Spain nor La Liga is racist, it is unfair to say this,” he wrote. “We report and go after racism in the strongest possible way within our remit.
“We have reported nine instances of racist insults this season. We always identify the thugs responsible and take the complaints all the way to the relevant bodies who have the power to punish them.
“Cases of racism are an extremely rare occurrence (nine reports) which we are committed to eliminating altogether.”
Vinicius Jr has been regularly subject to racist chants this season, with eight of the nine cases reported coming against the Brazilian forward.
However, he has no plans to leave Madrid because of the alarmingly regular abuse, having just signed a new long-term contract with the Spanish giants.
- Real Madrid announce mutual termination of Eden Hazard’s contract
- Harry Kane has done the business for Tottenham, but can Levy keep him?
- Declan Rice move would break Arsenal’s transfer record
- Five best Serie A defenders money can buy
- Guardiola insists Man City ‘will give everything’ to lift FA Cup trophy