Vinicius Junior said referees were failing to adequately punish opponents for fouling him after the winger scored a goal in Real Madrid’s 3-1 La Liga win over Espanyol but was also shown a yellow card.
Espanyol put Joselu in front in the eighth minute at the Bernabeu on Saturday, Vinicius equalized and Eder Militao’s header gave Madrid the lead before substitute Marco Asensio scored the third goal in stoppage time.
– Broadcast on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, others (USA)
Vinicius has scored 19 goals in all competitions for Madrid this season, but has been targeted by opposition defenders trying to influence his play.
“The referees don’t foul and don’t give yellow cards,” Vinicius told ESPN. “The players can foul me 15 times and finally the referee gives me a yellow card when the game is in the 88th minute.
“The players have to think of a way to stop me and by doing that [committing fouls and not being punished], it will be 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 LaLiga this season with 89 fouls, ahead of second-placed Rayo Vallecano’s Isi Palazon on 66, but he has also picked up eight yellow cards himself, often for his handling by opponents. .
“I’m not asking anyone to protect me,” he said. “In my life, nobody has protected me except my teammates, my parents and people who like me… What I have to do is try to keep my head clear.
“Of course I make mistakes sometimes, I’m only 22 years old. I make a lot of mistakes. But I want to make less mistakes and keep learning.”
Vinicius has been subjected to racist abuse from fans on several occasions this season and has criticized football authorities in Spain for failing to act to address the problem.
“I want this to be over,” he told ESPN. “I wish I didn’t have to talk about it every time I gave an interview. But it’s a very difficult topic.
“Maybe some people who suffer from racism are not as calm as I am and don’t have my support. It can affect people a lot, but you have to keep a clear head.”
Real Madrid beat Espanyol to move six points clear of leaders Barcelona in the LaLiga table ahead of Sunday’s Barca game at Athletic Club.