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Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue displays support for Vinicius Jr against racism

The lights of the iconic landmark in Rio de Janeiro were switched off at 1800 local time for an hour. PHOTO: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue switched off its lights on Monday night as a show of solidarity with Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr, who was subject to racial slurs from Valencia fans at the Mestalla stadium on Sunday.

The lights of the iconic landmark in Rio de Janeiro, the same state where Vinicius was born, were switched off at 1800 local time for an hour to cap a day where the Brazilian government and the world of football united to condemn the racist acts that took place at the Spanish league match.

The Archdiocesan Sanctuary that manages the monument carried out the act in cooperation with the Brazilian FA and the Observatory of Racial Discrimination in Football.

“(This action) is a symbol of the collective fight against racism and in solidarity with the player and all those who suffer prejudice around the world,” the entities said, according to Brazilian media outlet Globo.

Vinicius later added on Twitter: “Black and imposing. Christ the Redeemer was like this just now. An action of solidarity that thrills me. But I want, above all, to inspire and bring more light to our struggle.”

The Brazilian government called on Spanish and sports authorities earlier on Monday to punish those responsible for the “racist attacks” against the player, while the president of football’s governing body Fifa Gianni Infantino expressed his solidarity.

Other sporting figures such as Kylian Mbappe, Rio Ferdinand, and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton also voiced their support for the 22-year-old.

Spanish Football Federation head Luis Rubiales admitted there is a real problem of racism in the country’s football where “press releases don’t work anymore.” REUTERS