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Vinicius Jr. labeled "monkey" on live TV

Pele, Neymar, and many others rally behind Vinicius Jr. after being labeled "monkey" on live TV

September 16, 2022 By Ali M.
The Real Madrid ace was told to "stop playing the monkey" on El Chiringuito, sparking controversy throughout the beautiful game.

The Madrid Derby is one of the most intense rivalries in football. However, ahead of Real Madrid's trip to Atletico on Sunday, one man went too far when discussing the upcoming showdown, using the "monkey" slur when criticizing the talented Vinicius Jr. on live TV.

This controversial incident took place on the infamous El Chiringuito television show, with this distasteful comment coming from Pedro Bravo, the president of Spanish football agents. In the build-up to the weekend clash, the issue of the Brazilian's goal celebration – a Samba-inspired dance – came to the forefront of the conversation.

Atletico captain Koke issued a warning to his rival, saying "there would be trouble for sure" if the Selecao ace danced at the Metropolitano Stadium while the aforementioned Bravo opted for the all-too-familiar racist rhetoric when discussing the winger.

"You have to respect your opponents," Pedro said, as per Goal. "When you score a goal, if you want to dance Samba, you should go to sambodromo in Brazil. You have to respect your mates and stop playing the monkey."

And for obvious reasons, this sparked anger throughout the footballing world, which has – for the most part – united together in the fight against discrimination. Superstar teammate Neymar was one of the first to leap to his countryman's defense.

The PSG ace, who has suffered his fair share of criticism for his style of play and off-field habits, sent a short but simple message to his friend: "DANCE VINI JR". The former Barcelona man also added on Instagram: "Dribble, dance and be you! Happy just the way you are. Go for it my boy, next goal we dance!"

Neymar, Vinicius Jr., Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Madrid Derby, La Liga

And it did not stop there. Raphinha and Richarlison, two fellow Brazilians, also defended the 22-year-old while Newcastle midfielder Bruno Guimarães called for tough action against Bravo, demanding the official be arrested over his disgraceful remark.

Meanwhile, the official Twitter account of the Brazilian football federation also hit back at those comments, posting a short clip of Vinicius Jr., Neymar, and Lucas Paqueta dancing together in celebration while issuing a public message of solidarity for their player.

And finally, the great man of the beautiful game spoke out and that person is none other than Pele. The Brazilian icon who made millions fall in love with football showed his support for the Blancos sensation while reminding everyone of the true purpose behind the world's most popular sport: joy and a reason to smile.

"Football is joy. It's a dance. It's more than that. It's a real party. Although, unfortunately, racism still exists, we will not allow that to stop us from continuing to smile. And we will continue to fight racism every day in this way: fighting for our right to be happy and respected," the 81-year-old wrote on Instagram.

 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Pelé (@pele)

It will be interesting to see how Sunday's Madrid Derby unfolds after this controversy. With Karim Benzema struggling for fitness, Ancelotti will likely look to his Brazilian winger for inspiration in the final third. Given his amazing form, scoring five goals and assisting an additional three in his first eight outings, the former Flamengo starlet should fancy his odds of getting on the scoresheet.


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