Real Madrid star Vinicius Jr has hit back at the critics of his equaliser against Almeria on Sunday, saying that he scored with his shoulder and that it was a skill he learned on the beaches of Brazil.
The Brazilian forward levelled the score at 2-2 in the 67th minute of the La Liga clash, after Jude Bellingham had reduced the deficit from the penalty spot. However, his goal sparked controversy, as it was initially disallowed for handball by the referee, before being overturned by the VAR.
The replays showed that Vinicius Jr had made contact with the ball with shoulder, and the goal was allowed to stand. The decision angered the Almeria players and staff, who felt that they were robbed of a historic win over the league leaders.
Vinicius Jr took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to mock the critics of his goal. He posted a gif of the moment he scored, along with the caption: “Great goal!!! That’s how I always did it on Copacabana beach.”
Golazo!!! Así lo hacía siempre en la playa de Copacabana https://t.co/RRojbgTgIs— Vini Jr. (@vinijr) January 22, 2024
The goal was crucial for Real Madrid, who completed a dramatic comeback in the ninth minute of added time, when Dani Carvajal poked in a goal from a Jude Bellingham assist to seal a 3-2 victory. The win kept them one point behind Girona (who have a game in hand), who thrashed Sevilla 5-1 later on Sunday, with a hat-trick from Artem Dovbyk.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti praised Vinicius Jr for his performance and his goal, saying that he was “very happy” for him. He also defended the VAR decision, saying that it was “correct” and that there was “no doubt” that the goal was valid.
However, Almeria boss Gaizka Garitano, who was sent off for protesting the goal, slammed the officials and the VAR system, saying that they had “ruined” their “great game”. He also claimed that there was a “double standard” in La Liga, where the big teams get favourable calls.