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File image of Vinicius Junior© AFP

Real Madrid filed a criminal complaint on Monday with Spanish prosecutors over the racist abuse its Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior received during a weekend La Liga match, calling it a “hate crime”. The 22-year-old Brazilian international forward was targeted by a home supporter during the 1-0 defeat at Valencia on Sunday and was later sent off. “Real Madrid strongly condemns the events that took place yesterday against our player Vinícius Junior,” the Spanish giants said in a statement.

The club said it belives the abuse “constitutes a hate crime” and had filed a complaint with the prosecutors’ office “in order for the facts to be investigated and for those responsible to be held accountable.”

Vinicius has frequently been singled out for racial abuse in La Liga and the latest incident came at Valencia’s Mestalla stadium. He stood in front of fans behind the goal and pointed to the apparent culprit. Play was delayed for several minutes in the second half.

Referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea spoke to stadium officials, who made an announcement calling for racist insults to stop before play resumed 10 minutes later.

The referee wrote in his post-match report that a fan shouted “monkey, monkey” at the player. Vinicius was sent off in added time at the end of the game for hitting Valencia player Hugo Duro during a brawl.

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