Fulham winger Willian has signalled his support for Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior in the aftermath of the racial abuse aimed at his compatriot in Valencia over the weekend.
Speaking to Stats Perform, the 34 year-old said:
“Only he can answer what he is feeling. I see him going through this and I get a feeling that is a mixture of anger and sadness, all at the same time, for seeing this situation.
It’s up to each one of us. If he sees that it’s worth it to keep being there, if he has all the support from the club, from the Spanish federation, it’s worth persisting. But if you see that people don’t care about the situation, it might be worth going to another place where you are celebrated, not tolerated.
I always say this: you have to be where you are celebrated and not tolerated. That is what I believe. But Vini is making beautiful history at Real Madrid and has everything to continue making history there. I hope this situation is resolved and the people who do this are punished each time.”
Willian, who moved from Corinthians to Craven Cottage last September after receiving threats to his safety and that of his family, knows that more needs to be done to eradicate racism from society and sport.
“There is racism everywhere. Here in England, it might happen, but I have never seen, I have never witnessed a situation like the one that has been happening with Vini in Spain. In Italy, it happens too. Here in England, it is more difficult because I think the FA is very strict about these things. I am sure that if this happens here, they will ban the fan immediately, the federation can punish the club, and they can leave them without fans, but it is a complicated situation.
I’ve said it many times: while the authorities don’t do what has to be done, it’s no use. We players do what we can, which is to expose, post on social media, and talk about it in interviews. But we can’t punish. We players have to simply get on the pitch and keep playing, keep going to training. Those who can punish often don’t do what has to be done. We need to have a real rigorous punishment and not just keep running campaigns like ‘no to racism’ or something like that and that’s it. “I hope that more and more fans can be punished or that whoever does this will be punished.”
Willian should encourage him to come to the Cottage, we will celebrate them both.