Vinicius Jr was brought to tears as he suffered racist abuse playing for Real Madrid, and he is a player Jurgen Klopp has already had to back publicly.
On Sunday, the Madrid winger was subjected to racism from a section of Valencia reporters at the Mestalla and was reduced to tears at the abuse suffered.
As tensions rose, Vinicius was then sent off by the referee for putting his hand in the face of Valencia’s Hugo Duro, despite the opposition player having had his hand the around the Brazilian’s neck moments earlier.
It isn’t the first time that Vinicius has had to deal with racism playing in La Liga. He has been regularly abused this season but the Spanish football authorities simply haven’t acted with enough force.
After Sunday’s abuse, La Liga’s president Javier Tebas was critical of Vinicius’ response to racism, but this has been condemned and Real Madrid have since filed a hate crime complaint to the Spanish Prosecutor’s Office for the abuse in Valencia.
Tebas’ reaction sought to put the blame on Vinicius for the racism received and a question, fuelled by similar sentiment from parts of the media, was directed at Klopp before Liverpool’s Champions League tie against Madrid in February.
A journalist asked the Liverpool manager if Vinicius had an aspect of his game that is “sometimes provocative, that creates some reaction”.
In response, Klopp said: “That he is doing something on the pitch that could cause it?
“There is nothing in the world that could justify that. Imagine if I say yes, that would be completely insane.”
Carlo Ancelotti had a similar attitude after Madrid’s 1-0 loss to Valencia on Sunday, saying: “There’s something wrong with this league.”
Vincius put out a very strongly-worded statement with a similar message.
“Racism is normal in La Liga,” the Brazilian wrote.
“The competition thinks it’s normal, the Federation does too and the opponents encourage it.
“I’m so sorry, The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi today belongs to racists…
“I’m sorry for the Spaniards who don’t agree, but today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists.
“And unfortunately, for everything that happens each week, I have no defence. I agree.”
If La Liga and the Spanish authorities don’t crack down on racism, this would surely put players off wanting to join the league.
Klopp and Ancelotti have the right attitude, there is no excuse for racism.