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Real Madrid players, fans support Vinicius Junior after racist abuse

Vinicius Junior gestures to Real Madrid fans ahead of the team's LaLiga match against Rayo Vallecano. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MADRID - Vinicius Junior’s Real Madrid team-mates showed him support after he was racially abused, by wearing his number 20 shirt before their La Liga match against Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old Brazilian winger was present at the Santiago Bernabeu although not part of the squad for the game because of a knee problem, and his colleagues applauded him as he watched from the side of the pitch.

Vinicius faced off with a supporter at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium on Sunday after being abused during the match, and was later sent off for hitting Hugo Duro.

However, the Spanish football federation’s Competition Committee revoked his red card late on Tuesday because some images from the VAR video were not shown to the referee who sent him off.

Valencia had the south stand of Mestalla shut for five matches as punishment for the racist abuse, which they said they will appeal against.

A banner in one stand read “We are all Vinicius, enough already!” while players held up another message reading “Racists, out of football”, as part of a joint campaign from the federation and La Liga.

After 20 minutes supporters around the stadium chanted “Vini, Vini” and applauded, with Vinicius standing up and applauding them back, returning their support with a thumbs up.

The Brazilian winger watched the game from Madrid’s presidential box, alongside chief Florentino Perez.

Vinicius may return to action for Madrid on Saturday when Los Blancos visit Europa League finalists Sevilla. AFP

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