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Vinicius quizzed by Spanish judge over racist abuse

Real Madrid forward Vinicius was questioned on Thursday by a Spanish judge investigating the racist abuse hurled at the Brazilian international during a La Liga match in May.

Public prosecutors and La Liga filed lawsuits after several people allegedly made shouts of “monkey” directed at the player and other racist gestures during Real Madrid’s 1-0 loss at Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium on May 21.

Real Madrid said at the time that the chants, in its view, “(constituted) a hate crime”, while Brazil formally protested to the Spanish ambassador.

Vinicius was questioned by videoconference by a judge in Valencia, who is investigating a possible hate crime over the incident, from a court in the Spanish capital.

According to Spanish media, who cite judicial sources, Vinicius said he felt “offended” by the insults he received that day, which were due to the “colour of (his) skin”.

In a statement, Valencia football club said it “rejected” reports that Vinicius had said “all of the Mestalla stadium hurled racist insults” at him.

“Valencia supporters cannot be classified as racist and Valencia CF demands that Vinicius publicly rectify his alleged statement this morning,” it added.

During the Valencia match, Vinicius stood in front of home fans behind one goal and pointed to an apparent culprit. Play was delayed for several minutes in the second half.

Referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea spoke to Mestalla stadium officials, who made an announcement calling for racist insults to stop before play resumed 10 minutes later.

After the match, Vinicius issued a strongly worded statement saying that “today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists”.

“The league that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano (Ronaldo) and Messi now belongs to racists,” Vinicius added.

Three young men were arrested on suspicion of being the perpetrators of the insults. They acknowledged the facts but denied any hateful or racist intent against the player.

One of them was identified by Vinicius at the stadium. The others were identified through CCTV footage.

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