Vinicius labels himself 'tormentor of racists' after Valencia supporters convicted

By Sports Desk June 10, 2024

Vinicius Junior has described himself as a "tormentor of racists" after three Valencia supporters were given prison sentences for abusing him in May 2023.

Three people were sentenced to eight months in prison and given two-year stadium bans on Monday after being found guilty of hurling racist abuse at Vinicius at the Mestalla last year.

Vinicius was sent off following a scuffle in second-half stoppage time as Los Blancos were beaten 1-0 in a game that was paused for several minutes due to racist chanting.

The convictions – the first issued in Spain for racist abuse inside a football stadium – were welcomed as "great news for the fight against racism" by LaLiga president Javier Tebas.

Vinicius also welcomed the judgement on Monday, thanking Madrid for their support in the aftermath of the incident and expressing hope that other offenders will be convicted. 

"Many asked me to ignore it, many others said that my fight was in vain and that I should just 'play football'," Vinicius wrote on X. 

"But, as I've always said, I'm not a victim of racism. I am a tormentor of racists. This first criminal conviction in the history of Spain is not for me. It's for all black people.

"May other racists be afraid, ashamed and hide in the shadows. Otherwise, I'll be here to collect. 

"Thank you to La Liga and Real Madrid for helping with this historic conviction. More to come…"

FIFA president Gianni Infantino also responded to the convictions on his Instagram story, writing: "Our message to people anywhere in the world who still behave in a racist way when they are dealing with football is clear: we don't want you. 

"These people have to be excluded, they are not part of our community and not part of football."

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    Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal claimed a late win over Czechia to get their Euro 2024 campaign up and running.

    Before that, there was a sensational Group F opener between Turkiye and Georgia.

    But the football was not the only thing to look out for.

    Here, we round up the best of Tuesday's social posts from around Euro 2024.

     

    Ronaldo's rallying cry

    Ahead of becoming the first player to feature at six European Championships, Ronaldo posted a motivational message on social media.

    "Portuguese, today begins another chapter in our history," Ronaldo wrote in a caption that came with a video of some of his best moments in a Portugal shirt.

    "I fondly remember my first day with the national team, a journey full of challenges and victories. Now, I have the honor of being alongside a team of champions, full of talent and determination. With everyone’s strength and support, we turn dreams into reality. Let's, together, fight for another triumph. United, we are unstoppable. Go Portugal!"

    The rallying cry just about worked - Ronaldo didn't score, but Portugal beat Czechia 2-1 thanks to Francisco Conceicao's last-gasp winner.

    Portuguese party in Leipzig

    There were plenty of travelling Portuguese fans who made themselves right at home in Leipzig.

    It looked like a fair old party pre kick-off!

    Nose job

    Mbappe will require surgery, France coach Didier Deschamps confirmed, to fix his broken nose.

    However, when the superstar forward will go under the knife remains to be seen.

    Deschamps revealed this in a video interview posted to the official France team X account. Could Mbappe's Euro 2024 be over, or will he make it back in time to feature?

    Kante's warm welcome

    It was not all doom and gloom for France.

    N'Golo Kante was spectacular in his first competitive game for Les Bleus in two years, and the 33-year-old midfielder received a rapturous reception when he returned to the dressing room after the match, with the moment captured on video.

    Baller

    Turkiye and Georgia served up a thrilling encounter, and Arda Guler was one of the stars of the show.

    The Real Madrid midfielder became the youngest player to score on his Euros debut, breaking a record set by Ronaldo way back in 2004.

    He did so in stunning fashion, curling home from outside the area, and it's worth watching again and again.

    Quaresma watches on

    Ex-Portugal star Quaresma was no stranger to scoring great goals on the big stage, and he watched on from the stands to support his nation.

    Cool as you like

    Looking dapper is part and parcel of a team's travelling routine to and from match locations, especially for major tournaments.

    And the German team made sure to dress with the style befitting of hosts as they left their training base and headed for Stuttgart, where they take on Hungary on Wednesday.

    Derek's Cologne tour

    The Tartan Army have taken over Cologne ahead of Scotland's clash with Switzerland on Wednesday.

    And with the help of commentator Derek Rae, Scotland's social media team put out a handy guide to the city.

    Rice grabs the lens

    France's Benjamin Pavard took over camera duties for an ad hoc Olivier Giroud photo shoot earlier in the competition, and now England's Declan Rice has got in on the act.

    After training on Tuesday, Rice grabbed hold of the camera to get some snaps of his team-mates. And the results were pretty good!

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    Roberto Martinez lauded Francisco Conceicao as Portugal's much-needed hero after the Porto forward snatched a 2-1 victory over Czechia in their Euro 2024 opener.

    Portugal seemed set for a disappointing draw in their first match at the tournament after Robin Hranac's own-goal cancelled out Lukas Provod's second-half rocket on Tuesday.

    Yet Conceicao scored just two minutes after being introduced from the bench, sparking wild celebrations as Martinez's men escaped their first Group E test by the skin of the teeth.

    Having only introduced Conceicao in the 90th minute, Martinez hailed the impact of the 21-year-old on his first competitive appearance for his country.

    The Portugal boss told reporters: "He deserves it. He always works with one eye in front of the goal, he sniffs out goals.

    "He was the fireworks we needed today."

    Portugal completed 368 passes in the first half of this match, their most in a single half of football at the European Championship finals on record (since 1980), without finding any reward.

    That dominance turned into frustration when Provod cannoned in the opener after 62 minutes, only for Portugal to be bailed out by new hero Conceicao in Leipzig.

    Yet Martinez was not overly disappointed with his team's efforts.

    "There are some points to evaluate, not from a tactical or physical point of view – we had 18 shots and 13 corners," the former Belgium head coach added. 

    "We won because we showed values ​​of resilience, will and belief, from a dressing room that wants to give everything for Portugal. For a coach, it's the best."

    Conceicao's winning strike came just 111 seconds after being introduced and marks the fastest such goal at the tournament since Ferran Torres, for Spain against Slovakia in June 2021 (41 seconds).

    The Porto youngster admitted nerves played a part before his heroics took over.

    "Of course there are, I suffer a lot inside and I try not to show it," Conceicao said.

    "I have to be calm, that's what I tried to do and I knew the time could come to enter."

    Vitinha also impressed in a controlled midfield showing for Portugal, though acknowledged his side must improve.

    "Fortunately, we equalised and we believed until the end we could turn the match around," the Paris Saint-Germain player said.

    "We need to do better but this was the first game. Everybody was enthusiastic but sometimes we were a bit hasty."

  • Portugal 2-1 Czechia: Conceicao's last-gasp heroics salvage Seleaco on Ronaldo's landmark outing Portugal 2-1 Czechia: Conceicao's last-gasp heroics salvage Seleaco on Ronaldo's landmark outing

    Francisco Conceicao proved the hero on his first competitive start for Portugal after his stoppage-time winner snatched a 2-1 victory over Czechia in their Euro 2024 opener.

    Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in the European Championship's 64-year history to appear in six editions, but his landmark moment was overshadowed by a glimpse into Portugal's future.

    Conceicao was introduced after 90 minutes and scored just two minutes later, capitalising on a rebound to send Portugal level on points with leaders Turkiye, who beat Georgia 3-1 earlier on Tuesday in Group F.

    Robin Hranac's unavoidable own-goal had earlier cancelled out Lukas Provod's rocketed second-half opener before Conceicao announced himself on the international stage at the Leipzig Stadium.

    Roberto Martinez's team were the only side to win every qualifying game for this tournament, with a perfect 10 wins from as many matches, and dominated the first half of their opener without reward.

    Ronaldo almost marked his landmark appearance with a goal just eight minutes in but rushed an unmarked header in uncharacteristic fashion from Rafael Leao's whipped cross.

    Bruno Fernandes angled a deflected long-range effort narrowly over as the one-way traffic persisted, before the Manchester United midfielder's teasing ball just evaded the lunging Leao.

    Fernandes was again the architect when his delicate throughball found Ronaldo, who was denied by Jindrich Stanek's fantastic stop from point-blank range.

    The Czechia goalkeeper was on hand once more before the interval, parrying away another fizzing Ronaldo strike as these two sides were the first to be goalless at half-time at Euro 2024.

    Portugal completed 368 passes in that first-half onslaught, their most on record in a single half at the European Championships since records began in 1980, and little changed after the break.

    Ronaldo tested the hands of Stanek with a dipping free-kick just before the hour, though Portugal were stunned soon after when Provod cannoned into the top-left corner from the perimeter of Diogo Costa's area.

    Yet a response swiftly followed as Stanek parried Leao's downwards back-post header against Hranac, who could only deflect into his own net to level proceedings.

    Diogo Jota had a late finish ruled out by VAR after Ronaldo was adjudged offside before his rebounded finish, though Conceicao pounced from Pedro Neto's left-wing cross to snatch all three points.

    Substitute heroics save Ronaldo's landmark appearance

    Ronaldo already holds the record for the most appearances in European Championship history (26), though this outing marked another historic moment for the 39-year-old.

    Having featured at every Euros since his 2004 debut, Ronaldo is the first to go to six editions of the tournament, where his 14 goals make him the leading scorer in history.

    The former Manchester United attacker could not add to his tally here, and it was a familiar tale at the Euros for Ronaldo, who missed the 2016 final victory over France after his gut-wrenching injury.

    Eder stepped up as the extra-time hero on that occasion, and he was the last Portugal substitute to score at the Euros before Conceicao did so here.

    Conceicao's goal came just 111 seconds after being introduced and marks the fastest such goal since Ferran Torres for Spain against Slovakia in June 2021 (41 seconds) – what an introduction for the Porto man.

    Czech need more from Schick

    Patrik Schick scored five of Czechia's six goals at Euro 2020, becoming only the second Czech player to be the sole or joint-top scorer at a European Championship tournament – after Milan Baros at the 2004 edition (five goals).

    The forward has since lifted the Bundesliga title with Bayer Leverkusen last term, helping Xabi Alonso's side to an unbeaten league season with seven top-flight goals.

    Considering his record at the Euros and the 2023-24 trophy-winning campaign, Czechia may want more from their star striker – who was withdrawn on the hour after being cautioned and failing to manage a single shot.

    Yet with or without Schick, Czechia could have never prepared for Conceicao's late intervention. Ivan Hasek's side have now lost five straight games against Portugal and must bounce back when they face Georgia on Saturday.

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