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Vinicius out for Madrid, Valencia racism punishment cut

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Vinicius drew global support after making a stand against racist abuse he received from Valencia supporters last weekend

Vinicius Junior, subjected to racial abuse last weekend, will miss a second successive match due to a knee problem, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said Friday.

The 22-year-old Brazilian winger has received worldwide support since being racially abused by Valencia fans last Sunday.

Los Che’s punishment was also reduced by Spain’s appeal committee, with a five-match partial stadium closure reduced to three games.

Vinicius did not play against Rayo Vallecano in Madrid’s midweek win because of some knee discomfort, but was present as his teammates showed him their support by wearing his number 20 shirt before the game.

He has failed to shake off the problem for Saturday’s away match with Europa League finalists Sevilla.

“Vinicius will not travel because he will not play, he’d go if he had the chance to play (but) his knee is still giving him problems,” Ancelotti told a news conference Friday.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s home or away, he can’t play. I hope that he can play in the last game.”

Vinicius was sent off against Valencia but his ban was later overturned by the Spanish football federation’s Competition Committee.

One Sevilla fan group is encouraging supporters to protest against Real Madrid and their president Florentino Perez because of the decision by waving white handkerchiefs at the game.

– Appeal –

Valencia contested their punishment following the incident and the Spanish football federation’s appeal committee reduced the sanctions against them on Friday.

The Spanish side must close the south stand of their Mestalla stadium for three home matches instead of five, while their fine was also reduced from 45,000 euros to 27,000 euros ($29,000).

Valencia host Espanyol on Sunday in La Liga in a vital match with both teams battling relegation, in which the stand will be closed.

Three Valencia fans were arrested after the 22-year-old Brazilian winger was abused last Sunday during Los Che’s 1-0 win over Madrid.

A court in Valencia opened an investigation into the abuse on Friday, and Vinicius will testify via video conference, as he has done previously.

The Brazilian has been the victim of multiple instances of racism over the past two years in Spain.

Barcelona defender Alejandro Balde showed his support for Vinicius despite the animosity between their two clubs, as Brazilian winger Raphinha also did with a message on his shirt in midweek.

Vinicius said Spain was viewed as a racist country in his homeland Brazil and Balde, a Spanish international, said he has suffered issues himself.

“In the world of football I’ve not had a problem with racism, but I have in the street, me and my family,” Balde told GQ in an interview published Friday.

“When I was little I remember playing in a park and the kids told me and my brother that their families didn’t let them play with black (children).

“My parents have had trouble getting work because of the color of their skin. My brother has been stopped in the street and asked for his documents for no reason.”