Thierry Henry praises Vinicius for fighting against racism

Former France and Arsenal great Thierry Henry praised Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior for fighting against racism.


Henry lauds Vinicius for fighting racism

Madrid recently claimed their record 15th Champions League trophy after defeating Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in the final on Saturday at Wembley, with Vinicius scoring the opening goal.

The 23-year-old also played a crucial part in Los Blancos’ championship campaign in LaLiga.

Vinicius has done all of those impressive feat despite experiencing racist incidents last season.

“Right now, the guy that I saw before and what he’s become, well done, well done, because it’s not easy,” Thierry said. “The racism part, getting kicked, getting booed, getting red carded when you are mistreated and still overcoming it and performing well, as we say in French; ‘chapeau bas’ [hats off].”

Henry, who is also Black, said he was not surprised by the racist abuse directed at the star forward.

“So you have to work on yourself, like he [Vinícius] did, and try to see how you can get out of this situation. Mentally too, not just in performance on the field, but mentally. At one point, it looked like the guy was being booed for being mistreated,” he said.

The former Barcelona forward also lauded the Brazil international for his persistent celebrations despite being targeted by opposing fans.

“Yes, dance, dance however you want,” Henry said. “Dance, have fun, love and make us dream. That’s what it’s all about when I see a player like that. And now he’s playing, behaving and performing. You have to give him a lot of credit.”

Hats off to Vinicius

Henry remains amazed by Vinicius’ growth since his arrival at Bernabeu from Flamengo in 2018.

Vinicius finished the season with 23 goals and 11 assists in 38 appearances across all competitions for Madrid.

“Arriving in Madrid, we all remember the images of… they [some Real Madrid teammates] didn’t want to give him the ball,” Henry said. “You arrive in Madrid, join a national team and Neymar is the boss. You have to deal with all of this. From that to being the man of the moment. He is the guy. He’s the guy in Madrid. He’s the guy who’s making a difference. For me, this is his team.”

“From scoring the winning goal against Liverpool in [in the 2022 Champions League final] Paris to now, it hasn’t been an easy journey for him, and I know it’s not an easy journey for anyone. And while we’re on the subject, I’m just stating the facts he had to deal with. And all the time people and teams do tactics to make sure he doesn’t perform.”