Vinicius Junior calls the haters and defends the dance

On Saturday, Real Madrid striker Vinicius Junior called the haters of his goal celebrations racist and said he would keep dancing.

Spanish sports talk shows discussed the relevance of his celebrations, and a TV commentator said he should stop “monkeying”.

Real Madrid slammed the comment on Friday, and Vinicius released a video statement in Portuguese on Saturday in which the Brazilian said dancing was part of his cultural expression, and cited other footballers, black and white, who also danced after scoring.

Photo: EPA-EFE

“I’ll tell you, racist: I’m not going to stop dancing,” Vinicius said.

“I was the victim of xenophobia and racism in a single statement, but none of this started yesterday,” Vinicius said in stills of social media posts using racist language to insult him.

Controversy also arises in the build-up to yesterday’s hotly contested Spanish capital derby in which Real Madrid visit Atletico Madrid.

Last week, Atletico captain Koke Resurreccion, when asked what would happen if Vinicius danced after scoring, said ‘there will be problems’.

Koke appeared to make the comment jokingly, but it was widely commented on. Brazilian star Neymar took to social media, writing on Twitter: “Dance Vini Jr.”

In his video, Vinicius listed players including Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann, who is white, in footage of them dancing in goal celebration.

“For weeks, my dance has been criminalized, dances that are not mine, but rather those of Ronaldinho, Neymar, [Lucas] Paqueta, [Paul] Pogba, Matheus Cunha, [Antoine] Griezmann and Joao Felix,” he said. “These are dances by Brazilian artists, Latino singers and reggaeton artists and black Americans. These are dances to celebrate the cultural diversity of the world. Accept them. Respect them. I will not stop.

Vinicius, 22, became one of the best players in the Spanish league last year, becoming a perfect attacking partner for Karim Benzema. He helped Madrid win the Spanish league and the European Cup, including scoring the goal to beat Liverpool 1-0 in the Champions League final.

He has already scored five times this season.

Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said he was sure his player was focused on the game, despite the noise.

“The player’s response has been very good. I don’t think there is anything wrong with him,” Ancelotti said. “He plays with the joy and the quality he has. I do not give him any advice because I am neither his father nor his brother. I am his trainer.

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James C. Tibbs