Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus dedicated his goal celebration against Brentford to Vinicius Junior, his Brazil international teammate, after the Real Madrid forward received racial abuse, Newspremises reports.
Vinicius, 22, has pledged to continue his goal dancing celebrations because they represent “the delight of a black Brazilian in Europe.” His celebrations are comparable to those of other Brazilian players over the years, such as Neymar, who plays as forward for Paris Saint-Germain.
When discussing the Brazil international on El Chiringuito, agent Pedro Bravo used a racial slur on Real Madrid’s forward, saying that “in Spain, you have to respect rivals and stop playing the monkey.”
Bravo has already apologized on social media, saying that he used a metaphor incorrectly, following criticism that this was a racial stereotype. It has sparked a debate over the use of language and behavior toward football players that has racial overtones throughout Spain and beyond. According to Dani Alves, racial stereotypes are prevalent in European football.
Jesus of Arsenal, who was left off of the most recent Brazil international team but is set to be picked up for their World Cup call-ups, paid tribute to his international teammate with a headed goal against the Bees on Sunday.
Jesus scored his team’s second goal against Brentford on a header on Sunday, and he celebrated by dancing in honor of Vinicius and the hatred he endured for doing so for Los Blancos.
Jesus said after the game: “From the start we showed what we want to do in the game, create chances and score. That is what I believe we did. He found me for the goal and I am so happy to play with him, he is an intelligent and quality player. The celebration was for my guy Vinicius Jnr, it needs to stop and it was for him.”
A statement from Real Madrid added that they condemned “regrettable and unfortunate comments made against our player” and would take legal action against anyone making racist comments towards members of their squad. The Brazilian Football Federation called for “dancing, dribbling and above all respect” in a statement of solidarity.
Brazil’s legendary striker Ronaldo, formerly of Real Madrid, joined in the condemnation of the abuse directed at Vinicius: “Your dances do not disrespect anyone, racism does: it disrespects, excludes, hurts and kills.”