The arrests occurred just days after the Brazilian player was subjected to racial slurs during Real Madrid’s match against Valencia, prompting the team to file a hate crime report.
Four individuals have been arrested on suspicion of hanging a Vinicius Jr. effigy from a bridge in the Spanish capital in January, according to police.
After the effigy was hung with the player’s number 20 shirt from a bridge in front of Real Madrid’s training facility, a hate crime investigation was initiated.
It was suspended next to a 16-meter red and white banner that read “Madrid hates Real.”
The arrests occurred days after the Brazilian footballer renewed his criticism of La Liga and the Spanish government, disclosing that he has received death threats this season.
Real Madrid filed a hate crime report with Spanish prosecutors after a Brazilian player was subjected to racial slurs during Sunday’s 1-0 loss at Valencia.
Valencia reported that police have identified a fan who made racist gestures towards Vinicius Jr. and that individual faces a lifetime suspension from the Mestalla stadium.
In support of Vinicius Jr., the emblematic Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil was darkened for one hour on Monday night.
The Archdiocesan Sanctuary, which oversees the monument, collaborated with the Brazilian FA and the Observatory of Racial Discrimination in Football to carry out the deed.
“The Christ the Redeemer Archdiocesan Sanctuary rejects the racist attacks suffered by Vinicius Jr.,” the statement read.
“The monument’s lighting will be turned off as a symbol of the global fight against racism and in solidarity with the player and all those who suffer from prejudice around the world.”
In his most recent tweet, the 22-year-old winger described what he termed “continuous episodes spanning multiple cities in Spain.”
Every round away from home is an unpleasant surprise, he wrote. There were numerous this season. Death wishes, a dangling doll, and numerous criminal cries… All enrolled.
“However, the speech always concludes with ‘isolated cases’ or ‘a devotee’. These are not isolated incidents. It is a series of episodes spanning multiple locations in Spain (and even a television program).
“The video contains the evidence. How many of these racists had their identities and photographs published online? I respond to make it easier: zero.”
He questioned what was lacking to “criminalize these individuals” and “punish clubs” and added, “Why don’t sponsors charge La Liga?
“The situation is dire, and communications have broken down. Not blaming me to justify illegal behavior. You’re not a football player; you’re inhuman.”
After the halftime break on Sunday, the referee halted Madrid’s match against Valencia as the Brazilian pointed out Valencia fans who were ridiculing him.
Multiple times this season, Vinicius has been subjected to ethnic slurs from the stands, prompting his teammates and opponents to attempt to calm him down.
After the game, he tweeted, “It wasn’t the first, second, or third occasion. Racism is ubiquitous in La Liga. In football, they consider it normal, the governing body concurs, and the opposing team encourages it.
“I’m so depressed. Racism now owns the championship once held by Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano [Ronaldo], and [Lionel] Messi.
“A beautiful nation that welcomed me and that I adore, but which agreed to export the image of a racist nation to the rest of the world.
“I feel bad for the Spaniards who disagree, but today in Brazil, Spain is renowned as a racist country. And unfortunately, I have no defense for something that occurs every week. I let it happen.
“However, I am strong and will fight bigots to the death. Even though it is far away.”
Sunday, La Liga president Javier Tebas responded to Vinicius’s post by accusing him of “criticizing and insulting” the league.
Tebas stated in a second tweet on Monday that neither Spain nor La Liga is prejudiced. This is a very unjust statement.”
Assaults constitute hate crimes.
The 22-year-old’s club issued a strongly worded statement. “Real Madrid CF expresses its utmost disgust and condemns the events that occurred yesterday against our player Vinicius Jr.
“These events are a direct assault on the coexistence paradigm of our social and democratic legal system.
Real Madrid reported these attacks to the state attorney general’s office as hate crimes.