Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has expressed his solidarity with Real Madrid winger Vinicius Junior, who was racially abused by Valencia fans during their La Liga encounter on Sunday. The Brazilian was targeted by racist chants from the home crowd, which prompted the referee to stop the game and warn the fans. Xavi denounced the incident and called for decisive actions to end racism and insults in football.
In a press conference ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Real Valladolid, Xavi said: “It’s a shame that these things happen in 2023 - it’s unacceptable. It’s not about club badges or colours, it’s about people and we have to condemn any act of racism like the one that happened at Mestalla with Vinicius.”
The former Barcelona captain proposed that the games should be suspended if there is any abuse from the fans. He said: “I think the games have to be stopped. I’m working and it’s normal that people criticise you in the world of football, but not that they insult you. It’s time to end this once and for all. If there is an insult, we don’t play. I don’t have to tolerate all kinds of insults in my working hours. I’ve always thought that and now that I’m a Barça coach I can say it.”
Xavi also said that it is an educational issue and that people should respect the players and the referees. He said: “We have to educate people, so that they don’t go to football to insult the referee, for example. It doesn’t happen in other sports.”
Xavi’s comments come after Real Madrid filed a hate crime complaint over the racist abuse suffered by Vinicius. The club also released a statement expressing their support for the player and their rejection of any form of discrimination.