Pelé defends Vinícius Júnior

Pelé came out on Friday in defence of Real Madrid forward Vinícius Júnior against comments he considered racist, and said both will continue to fight against prejudice and defending “the right” to “be happy”.

“Football is joy. A dance. A real party. Even though racism still exists, we will not let that stop us from continuing to smile. We will continue to fight racism in this way: fighting for our right to be happy,” Pelé wrote on social media.

The three-time world champion used the hashtag ‘Dance Vini’, also used by a number of players, including Neymar, in solidarity with the Brazilian player, who has scored five goals in eight games for Los Blancos this season.

Pelé’s statement was in response to a comment about the Madrid player made by the president of the Spanish Association of Footballers’ Agents, Pedro Bravo, on El Chiringuito.

“If you want to dance samba, you go to the sambadrome in Brazil, here what you have to do is respect your fellow professionals and stop monkeying around,” Bravo said.

The agent has since apologised on social media and clarified that he used the expression “monkeying around” as a synonym for “fooling around”.

The controversy came about after the league match against Mallorca last Sunday. Vinícius celebrated his goal with a dance, which ended up fuelling more controversy on social media. Many of his team-mates have defended him, including compatriots Thiago Silva, Neymar and Real Madrid defender Éder Militão.

“Celebrating goals is your right. And no racist comment is going to take that away from you. Count on me! And more and more victories to come. In football and beyond, always with the utmost respect for each other,” Militão wrote.


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