Former Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa striker Darren Bent has told Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior to stay put at the club to prove a point to racists in Spain.
Racism in football is as old as time. Racism in LaLiga has also outlasted the several campaigns and sanctions which the world football governing body FIFA, the European football governing body UEFA and the Spanish football governing body RFEF have put in place over the years.
Vinicius Junior has been the hardest hit this season. He has spoken out about and against it several times but was largely ignored. The latest incident against Valencia, however, looks like the straw that will break the camel’s back as reports indicate that the Brazilian could take a drastic decision to leave Madrid.
Many figures in world football as well as the government of Brazil, who have also begun diplomatic actions with the government of Spain regarding the incidents, have come out in support of the 22-year-old.
Former England national team striker Darren Bent, who currently works as a pundit for a number of broadcasters including football radio talkSPORT, has explicitly told him to stay at Madrid and fight the racists with his football.
Bent, a black man like Vinicius, resonated with the forward’s struggles and stated that the best course of action would be to stay and fight. “I definitely wouldn’t leave,” Bent said on the talkSPORT show Drivetime. “I think if he leaves he’s almost told the racists they’ve won, it’s like they’ve won and forced him out.
“I’m sure he’s had conversations with people close to him, his wife, his family and I’m sure his teammates have rallied around him, but there is no one on the planet who’s going to force me out.
“I know it’s going to be difficult when you’ve got whole stadiums screaming, which is appalling, but I think he’s got to stay.
“The power that he shows by staying lets them know that they’re not going to force him out, they’re not going to win.”
Vinicius’ social media post after the Valencia incident saw him state that he will fight the racists in the league “even if from afar” and this was interpreted to mean he would consider leaving the club. If he makes the decision to leave Madrid after five seasons, RMC Sport reports that Paris Saint-Germain are ready to act on it by signing him.
The Parisians have long held an interest in him and could see this as an opportunity to bag a direct replacement for Kylian Mbappe who is destined for a move to Real Madrid at some point in his career.
“If I’m Vinicius I’m not going anywhere. Real Madrid is one of the biggest clubs in the world, I’m not letting them force me out of that,” Bent added. “I wouldn’t be angry with [my teammates] because I’m sure they’ve got his back, but there will be a conversation next time, there has to be with how bad this has got.”