La Liga file charges over Vinicius Jr racial abuse

La Liga on Tuesday said it has filed charges relating to the racist abuse of Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr to the “relevant judicial, administrative and sporting bodies”, adding that it will step up efforts to identify such abuse in the future.

Vinicius appeared to be subjected to abuse at the Jose Zorrilla stadium in Valladolid as he walked past fans after being substituted in Real Madrid’s 2-0 win over Real Valladolid on December 30.

After videos on social media showed fans shouting abuse and throwing objects at him, Vinicius accused La Liga of continuing to do nothing about racist fans at matches.

“A criminal charge for hate crimes has been filed with the Valladolid Magistrates’ Courts, supported by audiovisual evidence gathered in the investigation carried out through images and audio clips published on open sources,” La Liga said in a statement.

Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior, right, runs with the ball ahead of Shakhtar's Yukhym Konoplya during the Champions League group F soccer match between Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
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Vinicius returned to action with Real Madrid last week

“La Liga has also asked the Valladolid Magistrates’ Courts to transfer the complaint to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Hate Crimes so that it can participate in the case.”

In the statement, the league said it would increase efforts to “eradicate any kind of violence, racism or xenophobia inside and outside stadiums”.

“The number of La Liga integrity officers present at matches where there is a risk of racist insults will be increased, in order to maximise detection and identification of this type of behaviour, which has no place in sport,” La Liga said.

“Furthermore, in stadiums where there is considered to be a risk of possible racist behaviour in the stands, messages will be broadcast over the public address system and advertising hoardings surrounding the pitch to combat and condemn racism.”

Vinicius Junior celebrates giving Brazil a 1-0 lead
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Vinicius played at the World Cup with Brazil

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Vinicius Jr: La Liga doing nothing about racist fans

Real Madrid’s Brazilian forward Vinicius Jr has accused La Liga of continuing to do nothing about racist fans at matches after videos on social media showed fans shouting abuse and throwing objects at him away at Real Valladolid on Friday night.

La Liga issued a statement condemning all forms of hate speech and saying it was following up on instances of racism at the match.

Vinicius appeared to be subjected to abuse at the Jose Zorrilla stadium in Valladolid as he walked past fans after being substituted in Real Madrid’s 2-0 win.

“Racists continue to go to stadiums and watch the biggest club in the world up close and La Liga continues to do nothing,” Vinicius wrote on Twitter.

“I will continue with my head held high and celebrating my victories and those of Madrid.”

In September Atletico Madrid fans were filmed directing racist chants at the 22-year-old outside their Wanda Metropolitano Stadium ahead of a match against Real.

The league said in a statement that it was looking into the events of Friday’s match.

“La Liga has detected racist insults from the stands of the Zorrilla stadium, published on social networks,” the Spanish top-flight league said.

“These facts will be reported to the Anti-Violence Commission and the Public Prosecutor’s Office for hate crimes, as has been done on other occasions,” it said.

The league detailed how it had addressed incidents of racist abuse towards players in the past and said it will continue to fight against “the scourge of violence, racism, xenophobia and intolerance in sport”.

Real agree deal for 16-year-old Endrick | ‘Biggest transfer in Brazilian history’

Real Madrid have agreed to sign 16-year-old Brazilian forward Endrick from Palmeiras.

Endrick will join Real in July 2024 when he turns 18 and stay with Palmeiras in the meantime.

Real have beaten a host of other top European clubs, most notably Chelsea, to the signature of one of the most sought after teenagers in the world.

Endrick’s family were hosted by Chelsea at the club’s Cobham training ground last month, as they explored a move for the in-demand youngster.

The Palmeiras president Leila Pereira has described this as “the biggest negotiation in the history of Brazilian football”.

She added: “Real Madrid’s proposal is compatible with Endrick’s enormous talent and corresponds to the sporting and financial goals that we have established since the beginning of negotiations”.

Real have had success in recent years when investing in Brazil’s most promising youngsters, having agreed deals for Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo at a similar age, with both players now first-team regulars.

Endrick has promised to give his all for Palmeiras in the next 18 months before he moves to the Bernabeu and thanked “the club of his heart” for granting him this move.

“I thank Palmeiras, forever the club of my heart, for offering me everything necessary to become what I am today, helping to achieve my dreams and respect my wishes and those of my family,” said the 16-year-old.

“Until I join Real Madrid, I will continue to dedicate myself as I have always dedicated myself to being able to offer Palmeiras even more on the pitch: more goals, more victories, more titles and even more joy for our fans.”

Real Madrid say Endrick will travel to the Spanish capital “in the coming days” to visit the club’s facilities.

The different approaches of Real Madrid and Barcelona

European football expert Kevin Hatchard told Sky Sports News Endrick is “somebody that the club has been aware of for some time”.

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YouTube sensation, pocket rocket… who is Real’s new teenage star?

Hatchard said: “He’s a striker, a bit of a pocket rocket. he’s only 5 ft 8 in but he’s got a lot of power with his shooting and he’s somebody who’s been a bit of a YouTube sensation at one stage.

“He’s only played a handful of games, it isn’t somebody with a track record, but Real have done this before. They brought in Rodrigo. I think he’s been a sensational signing for them and Vinicius Junior has become one of the most impressive players in European and world football.

“So, because they’ve got that pathway, they can show potential signings and then they will come.”

Hatchard explained the difference between Real Madrid and La Liga rivals Barcelona in how the clubs have approached financial challenges of late.

“We’ve seen that Real Madrid still have this massive draw as a football club,” said Hatchard.

“They’ve been quite savvy in the last few years. They’ve kept their powder dry in the transfer market unless they’ve really wanted a player and they’ve gradually got that debt down.

“Real Madrid have chosen to do it that way, Barcelona have chosen to take more gambles. Barcelona have said, ‘If we’re still going to be a big football club, we need to spend our way out of trouble, we need to still play at the top table and do it on credit effectively’.

“Real Madrid have slowly but surely managed to get that debt down. It will be interesting to see who was right in the fullness of time.”

Hayes targeting Champions League glory with Chelsea | ‘It’s our goal every year’

Emma Hayes has reiterated Chelsea’s desire to win the Women’s Champions League and urged her side to seal progression into the knockout phase with victory at Real Madrid on Thursday.

The current English champions made the final of Europe’s elite competition in 2021 but suffered a surprise group-stage exit last season.

It is a different story this time around, with a 100 per cent record after three Group A games giving Chelsea the chance to book their place in the last eight with three points at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium.

“The Champions League is the goal every year,” Hayes said at a press conference in Madrid.

“What’s different is tomorrow we’re in a position to qualify. We weren’t this time last year. Our objectives are always to win every trophy we compete for and this year is no different.

“It is a tough group, so for us just to win (is the aim) and put ourselves in the best position possible.”

Another victory on Thursday would be a 12th in a row for Chelsea but Hayes knows keeping possession will be key.

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Highlights from the WSL match between Leicester and Chelsea.

She added: “Ultimately we are here to win and to talk about the threats of the opponent and give away my game plan, I don’t want to do.

“What I will say is I think as a team the patience in possession and ability to threaten, especially in wide spaces, I know is part of their strength but for us we need to focus on our experience, what we’ve done in European competition.

“That is a massive pitch out there and in order to get a result out here we need to keep the ball very well because they do so we absolutely have to tomorrow.”

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Chelsea manager Emma Hayes says it will take time for her to get back to full strength, as she continues her recovery following an emergency hysterectomy.

A key battle will be between Scotland internationals Erin Cuthbert and Madrid’s summer signing Caroline Weir.

Cuthbert watched from the bench on Saturday as Chelsea hit eight past Leicester but will be eager to make an impact in Spain after scoring in each of her three matches in November.

“For us it would be really significant (to qualify early). Given the disappointment last year, we’re not looking ahead about how far we are going to get in the competition. First and foremost, the most important thing is to qualify,” Cuthbert insisted.

“I know Caroline Weir very, very well from the national team. I know the quality she has. On her game she is a real top player so we’re going to have to do well to stop her, like a lot of their team.”

Hayes ended the press conference with a good luck message for England, who play France on Saturday in Qatar for a place in the World Cup semi-finals.

“To Gareth (Southgate) and the boys, we know the whole country will be tuning in,” the Chelsea manager added.

“I am really, really enjoying the way the team is playing. Hopefully we get the opportunity to progress. I am sure the way we are playing, I don’t see any reason why not.”

Liverpool make Bellingham top target | Henderson jokes teen won’t move to Real

Liverpool have made signing Jude Bellingham their priority for the summer transfer window, according to Sky Germany.

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Bellingham has elevated his already burgeoning reputation with his performances for England at the World Cup in Qatar and is being chased by a host of top clubs.

The German club are said to be planning for the 19-year-old’s departure in 2023 already as they brace themselves for a big offer in the summer, with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp understood to be pushing hard for the deal.

Jude Bellingham celebrates his goal
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Bellingham is the most sought after teenager in world football

Liverpool, PSG, Manchester City and Real Madrid are thought to be the most interested parties with Bellingham likely to cost more than £100m in transfer fees alone. His current contract expires in 2025.

Manchester United, though, are out of the race, according to Sky Germany, having tried to sign Bellingham when he was at Birmingham City.

Sky in Germany transfer reporter Florian Plettenberg told Sky Sports News: “Borussia Dortmund are very happy with Jude Bellingham’s World Cup performance so far because he’s becoming even more valuable from the financial point of view.

“Bellingham is under contract until 2025 and he has no release clause unlike Erling Haaland did.

“They’re already planning for his summer exit in 2023, Dortmund would be fine with him leaving because they are confident in getting a transfer fee between €100m- €150m (£86.24m-£129.37m).”

Henderson jokes Bellingham won’t go to Real Madrid

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Liverpool & England midfielder Jordan Henderson tells a fan that Jude Bellingham will not be going to Madrid if he leaves Borussia Dortmund.

A brave Real Madrid fan approached Bellingham in Qatar in a bid to convince the midfielder of moving to the Bernabeu while he was sat alongside Liverpool duo Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

“Bellingham, you are the best centre midfielder in the world,” said the hopeful Real fan, who posted the video to TikTok.

“Come to Real Madrid, come to Real Madrid,” he added.

To which Henderson replied, saying “No, no. Not Madrid, he’s not going to Madrid.”

Jordan Henderson and Jude Bellingham celebrate after combining for England's opening goal against Senegal
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Jordan Henderson and Bellingham celebrate after combining for England’s opening goal against Senegal

The fan then made a joke about Liverpool losing to Real in the Champions League final – earning a big laugh from the group – before returning his attentions to Bellingham.

“Come to Real Madrid, Bellingham,” he continued. “Please, Bellingham. If you come to Real Madrid you will win the Ballon d’Or.”

Bellingham refused to give anything away, but responded by saying: “We will see”.

PSG president: Everybody wants Bellingham

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The president of Paris Saint-Germain, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, has told Sky News he wants to sign the England midfielder Jude Bellingham, but that any approach would have to go through his club Borussia Dortmund first

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi says Bellingham is an “amazing player” and admits “everybody” wants to sign the Dortmund midfielder.

Bellingham has shone for England at the World Cup, claiming a goal and an assist in four games in Qatar, and Al-Khelaifi told Sky News he is an “amazing player – what a player.”

“England (are) lucky to have him, to be honest,” Al-Khelaifi added. “He’s one of the best players in the tournament.

“Amazing – his first World Cup. He’s calm and relaxed, confident – amazing.”

When asked whether PSG would join the chase for Bellingham, Al-Khelaifi said: “Everybody wants him, I’m not going to hide it.

“He’s at his club, and (we have) respect, so if we want to talk to him we’ll talk to the club first.”

Neville: I know what Man City, Liverpool players are doing!

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Gary Neville says Bellingham is performing in a way that reminds him of Steven Gerrard and Roy Keane

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville believes the Manchester City and Liverpool players in the England squad are trying to get close to Bellingham as the race hots up for his signature – just as he did with Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand in the past.

“When I was in the [England] camp 15 years ago, I used to get close to Rooney, close to Rio Ferdinand,” Neville told Sky Sports News. “Now you see Phil Foden next to Jude Bellingham, you see Trent Alexander-Arnold going for a walk with him, you see Jordan Henderson cuddling up to him at the end of the game.

“And you think ‘you sneaky little s*ds, I know what you’re trying to do you lot’.

“That’s the reality at this moment in time. [Bellingham] is more likely to go to Liverpool and Manchester City, just because of where they are at, what they are doing.”

‘Liverpool, Klopp shouldn’t expect any gifts in Bellingham pursuit’

Borussia Dortmund MD Carsten Cramer says that while Liverpool would be his “preferred” next destination for Bellingham, Klopp’s side cannot expect “any gifts” from his former club.

“We both care about Dortmund,” said Cramer about Dortmund’s relationship with their one-time manager, who is now in charge at Anfield.

“We have a high sympathy for Liverpool for sure. We are still in a good relationship with Jurgen and many others at Liverpool.

“So for me, it is my preferred club in the Premier League as well.

“But do not expect that we will make gifts to Liverpool.”