Vinicius Junior and Real Madrid have issued strong statements after the winger was racially abused by a Spanish agent.
On Spanish television channel El Chiringuito, agent Pedro Bravo bizarrely urged the 22-year-old to stop dancing when he celebrates goals, claiming “in Spain, you have to respect rivals and stop playing the monkey”.
Bravo has apologised for the remark, saying he misused a metaphor, but Vinicius denounced it, calling it racism and being backed up by his club.
“While the colour of skin is more important than the brightness of the eyes, there will be war. I have this phrase tattooed on my body. I have this thought permanently in my head. That is the attitude and philosophy that I try to put into practice in my life. They say happiness annoys [them]. The happiness of a black Brazilian victorious in Europe annoys them much more.
“But my desire to win, my smile and the brightness of my eyes are much bigger than that. You cannot even imagine it. I was victim of xenophobia and racism in a single statement. But none of that started yesterday.
“A few weeks ago they began to criminalise my dances. Dances that are not mine. They are from Ronaldinho, Neymar, Paqueta, Griezmann, Joao Felix, Matheus Cunha…they are funk artists, Brazilian sambistas, from Reggaeton artists, and from black Americans. They are dances to celebrate the cultural diversity of the world. Accept it, respect it. I will not stop.
“I come from a country where there is a great amount of poverty, where the people don’t have access to educations…and in many cases, not even food on the table. I don’t tend to come out publicly to address criticism. They attack me and I don’t speak. They praise me and I don’t speak either. I work! I work a lot.
“On and off the pitch. I have developed an app to help the education of children in public schools without any financial help from anyone. I am building a school in my name. I will do much more for education. I want the next generations to be prepared, as I was, to fight against racists and xenophobes.
“I always try to be a professional and an exemplary citizen. But that does not attract clicks, it is not the trend on the internet, nor does it motivate the cowards to speak aggressively about people that they don’t even know.
“The plot always ends the with an apology and a ‘they misinterpreted me’. But I repeat to you, racist: I will not stop dancing. No matter if it is at the Sambadromo, at the Bernabeu or wherever it may be.
“With love and the smiles of someone who is very happy, Vini. Jr. #BailaVini.”
A statement from Real adds: “Real Madrid CF rejects all kinds of racist and xenophobic expressions and behaviours in the field of football, sport and life in general, such as the regrettable and unfortunate comments made in recent hours against our player Vinicius Junior.
“Real Madrid wants to show all its love and support for Vinicius Junior, a player who understands football as an attitude towards life based on joy, respect and sportsmanship.
“Football, which is the most global sport that exists, must be an example of values and coexistence.
“The club has instructed its legal services to take legal action against anyone who uses racist expressions towards our players.”
Legendary Brazil striker Pele and Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar have both given Vinicius their support on social media, as well as Rayo Vallecano striker Radamel Falcao.
The Brazilian Football Federation also supported Vinicius, calling for “dancing, dribbling and above all respect”.
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Newcastle set to finalise deal for Garang Kuol
Australia international Garang Kuol is set to finalise a move to Newcastle United, sources have told 90min.
90min revealed earlier this month that Newcastle were in talks with his club Central Coast Mariners, and now a deal is understood to be in place with Eddie Howe’s side seeing off competition from various clubs, including German giants Borussia Dortmund.
Newcastle were waiting for Kuol to complete his international duty with Australia this month before finalising the deal. The 18-year-old made his debut against New Zealand on Sunday and is now believed to be heading to Europe.
Kuol and his camp have already agreed terms with Newcastle ahead of a move that would be finalised in January – at which point the Magpies will decide on what to do with him in the short-term.
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As it stands, Kuol would not qualify for a work permit, but that matter could change quickly if he is involved at the World Cup finals. This won’t be known until manager Graham Arnold names his squad in a few weeks.
Newcastle are understood to already have a plan in place to send Kuol on loan to another league in Europe – the length of which will be determined by his work permit standing.
Jurgen Klinsmann & Danny Williams on why so many USMNT players succeed in Germany
Germany has long been a breeding ground for American players, but why do so many success stories from across the pond begin their European adventure there?
The United States men’s national team’s biggest stars first trained in the Bundesliga before making their jump elsewhere, from Christian Pulisic to Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams. Giovanni Reyna, meanwhile, is continuing his rapid rise with Borussia Dortmund.
This is nothing new, with the likes of Landon Donovan and Fabian Johnson all using the German top-flight to kick-start successful careers at both club and international levels.
So, is it the similarities in culture between the United States and Germany that makes it such an attractive destination, the style of play, or something else?
“I think culture-wise, Germany and the US are very similar. They’re two countries that are full of ‘doers’. They don’t want to wait for the other nations, they’re just doing their thing. America is doing its own thing and Germans just like to go ahead and do their thing,” former USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann told 90min.
“The German culture is very open to young talent coming in and giving it a shot, try it out, see how far you can take it. And if it doesn’t work, you can still go back home, no problem at all. The Bundesliga is known for giving young players chances. 17, 18, 19 years of age. If you’re good, that’s all it takes, the coach will throw you into the cold water and you’ve got to swim, and if the water is too cold, no problem, we can slow down the process.”
As a former US international who was born and raised in Germany, Danny Williams has experienced the pathway between the two countries better than most. The 33-year-old midfielder got his break at Freiburg back in 2010 and also went on to represent Hoffenheim before playing in England with Reading and Huddersfield Town.
He echoed Klinsmann’s sentiments regarding Germany’s willingness to give youth a try, owing – in his opinion – to the country’s much smaller ownership model when compared to clubs in the Premier League.
“I think Germany is one of the best places to develop as a young player because most of the clubs don’t have big owners and there isn’t as much money around like at Chelsea, Arsenal, or Tottenham,” Williams told 90min.
“That’s fine because they still go on and play for those clubs if they succeed in Germany. The tactical and technical education is very good in Germany. I was fortunate enough to go through my youth in these academies and what you learn there is amazing. What I really like about Bundesliga is these young guys are given a chance and they’re trusted by the coach to make the step into the first team, have game time, and not come and be replaced by a superstar if you don’t perform in one or two games, like at Man Utd. They’re a bit more patient with you.”
Across his time in charge of the USMNT and as head coach of multiple Bundesliga outfits, including Bayern Munich, Klinsmann has seen first-hand just how players can excel in Germany, with so many American stars across Europe owing their success to the country.
“I think over decades now, the Bundesliga has proven that model, that’s why a lot of young players give it a shot,” Klinsmann added.
“It’s just wonderful to see so many American players fight their way through it. Maybe they end up in another league but at the end of the day, they have their starting point in the Bundesliga where they become really good, especially if you’re talking about players like Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, or Tyler Adams. It’s a calibre of player that’s rare to have so many of them in the United States.”
Klinsmann and Williams spoke to 90min at the ‘Bundesliga Common Ground Project Event’ in NYC. For information and more from Williams and Klinsmann, check out our latest our article here and more of our video content from the event on our Twitter and Instagram.
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