Vinicius Jr. said referees were failing to punish opponents enough for fouling him, after the winger scored — but also received a yellow card himself — in Real Madrid’s 3-1 win over Espanyol in La Liga.
Espanyol went ahead through Joselu in the eighth minute at the Bernabeu on Saturday, before Vinicius equalized and Eder Militao’s header put Madrid in front, before substitute Marco Asensio added a third in added time.
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Vinicius has scored 19 goals in all competitions for Madrid this season but has been targeted by opposition defenders trying to influence his performances.
“Referees don’t give fouls and they don’t give yellow cards,” Vinicius told ESPN. “The players could foul me 15 times and finally, when the game was in the 88th minute, the referee gave a yellow card.
“The players have to think of a way to stop me, and it does [committing fouls and not being punished], it becomes very easy for them. I don’t judge the players, but I judge the referees, because they have to apply the rules correctly.”
Vinicius is the most fouled player in La Liga this season, having been fouled 89 times — well ahead of Rayo Vallecano’s second-placed IC Palazon on 66 — but has also been shown eight yellow cards himself, often for his conduct by opponents. to complain.
“I don’t want to protect anybody,” he said. “Nobody has protected me in my life, except my teammates, my parents and people who love me… All I have to do is try to keep a clear head.
“Sure, I make mistakes sometimes, I’m only 22. I’ll make a lot of mistakes. But I want to make less mistakes and keep trying to learn.”
Vinicius has suffered racist abuse from fans multiple times this season and has criticized Spain’s football authorities, saying they are not doing enough to tackle the problem.
“I hope it can be finished,” he told ESPN. “I wish I didn’t have to talk about it every time I do an interview. But it’s a very difficult subject.
“Maybe some people who suffer from racism are not as cool as me, and not as supportive as I am. It can affect people a lot, but you have to keep a clear head.”
Real Madrid’s win over Espanyol moved them six points clear of Barcelona at the top of the La Liga table ahead of Barca’s game at Athletic Club on Sunday.