Vinicius Jr. continues to dance amid racist abuse in Madrid derby as Real Madrid stay perfect in La Liga


MADRID– If you didn’t know that Sunday’s match between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid was ‘El Derbi Madrileño’, you might have guessed something was up.

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A tense and turbulent affair ended in a 2-1 victory for Real Madrid, who remain perfect in La Liga this season amid mockery of Vinicius Junior from Atletico fans.

Goals from Rodrygo and Federico Valverde put Real Madrid ahead early, and an Atletico Mario Hermoso goal followed by a red card eight minutes later did little to help the hosts’ cause .

Here’s ESPN’s Alex Kirkland with reaction and analysis from Madrid.

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Quick reaction

1. Rodrygo, Valverde and Vinicius are Madrid’s future

It’s gone fast, but this season already looks like the start of a new era at Real Madrid, with Rodrygo (21), Vinicius Junior (22) and Fede Valverde (24) as the new stars of this team.

It’s a process that started in the Champions League run last year and is now impossible to ignore. One or more of Rodrygo, Vinicius and Valverde have scored in each of Madrid’s last seven games – Rodrygo’s first game has made it three consecutive league games for him – and together they sum up this fast, direct and clinical Madrid side.

Veterans like Luka Modric and Toni Kroos are still very much around – both were excellent against Atletico – and of course Karim Benzema will return to the squad when he returns from injury. But it was an evening dedicated to Madrid’s dynamic and irrepressible top three.

After a positive start from Atletico, it was Rodrygo who opened the scoring, firing Aurélien Tchouameni’s floating pass past Jan Oblak, and when Vinicius’ low shot hit the post and bounced off the goal, Valverde was there to make it 2-0 and finish effectively. the contest, despite Atletico’s belated response. In all the noise of a frenetic Madrid derby, those two quality moments made the difference.

2. Appalling racist chants demand action from Atletico

The images of a group of Atletico Madrid fans belting out ‘Vinicius, you’re a monkey’ outside the Metropolitano stadium ahead of this game was sickening, disheartening and, sadly, nothing new.

Atletico’s ultra hardcore group, the Front Atlético, have already been guilty of such incidents on numerous occasions – both on and off the pitch – and the club have failed to take decisive action, despite UEFA sanctions. Until Atletico do whatever is necessary to fix this issue, including lifetime stadium bans if those responsible can be identified, this will continue to happen.

Vinicius’ response to racist criticism of his goal celebrations this week was an eloquent and perfect statement on the matter and here he was able to respond on the pitch. When Rodrygo scored, Vinicius was the first to join him in what looked like a very deliberate dance down the touchline, and he was then the catalyst for Real Madrid’s second goal with a trademark down the left.

After the match, Vinicius Junior posted a photo of his celebration with Rodrygo with the caption “Dance wherever you want”. Keep dancing, Vini.

3. Griezmann’s first start ends in defeat

It had become a running joke so far this season: In the 62nd, or the 63rd, or the 64th minute, here comes Antoine Griezmann – the super-sub coach Diego Simeone likes, but couldn’t start – as Atletico Madrid have sought to avoid activating the appearance-based clause which would see them paying Barcelona €40m to make their loan deal permanent next summer.

It wasn’t just any game though. It was the Madrid derby, and so Griezmann did beginning. And it started pretty well. Playing alongside Joao Felix in attack, it was Griezmann who was arguably Atletico’s sharpest player in the first half, often diving deep to get involved in the game.

When it came time for Simeone to make changes in the second half, with Atletico continuing the game, it was Griezmann who stayed. Don’t be surprised to see him back on the bench next time.

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Player ratings

Real Madrid: Thibaut Courtois 7; Dani Carvajal 7, Eder Militao 7, David Alaba 7, Ferland Mendy 7; Aurelien Tchouameni 8, Toni Kroos 8, Luka Modric 7; Fede Valverde 8, Vinicius Junior 7, Rodrygo Goes 8.

Subtitles: Antonio Rudiger 6, Eduardo Camavinga 6, Dani Ceballos 7, Marco Asensio 6

Atlético Madrid: Jan Oblak 5; Felipe 5, Axel Witsel 6, Reinildo Mandava 6; Marcos Llorente 6, Yannick Carrasco 6; Geoffrey Kondogbia 6, Rodrigo de Paul 6, Koke 6; Joao Felix 6, Antoine Griezmann 7.

Subtitles: Matheus Cunha 6, Alvaro Morata 6, Mario Hermoso 6, Angel Correa 7, Saul Niguez 6.

Best and Worst Performers

BEST: Fede Valverde, Real Madrid.

Another week, another goal. Better and better. Arguably Spain’s most in-form midfielder at the moment.

WORST: Felipe, Atletico Madrid.

Still looks like the weakest link in Atletico’s defence.

Highlights and Moments

The Madrid derby was stirred from the opening whistle, and it didn’t take long for tempers to flare.

But Rodrygo kept his composure and found the opener with a nice punctual strike after a perfectly weighed ball from Aurélien Tchouameni.

He then celebrated by dancing with Vinicius Junior, who over the past week has had to endure disgusting racist attacks at his own dance celebrations.

Real Madrid kept rolling after that and Federico Valverde doubled their lead.

Atletico’s Mario Hermoso later pulled one back, but that only went so long as Hermoso was shown a second yellow card soon after.

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Hermoso pulls one off for Atletico in the Madrid derby.

After the game: What players and managers said

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti was too conservative after the two-goal lead: “Yes. I agree with that. In the first half we played well from the back, twice we started with [goalkeeper] Thibault [Courtois] and scored two goals. We were comfortable in possession. In the second half, we lost the idea of ​​hurting them. In the end we suffered, we controlled the game but in the end we suffered. Atletico pushed and caused us problems.”

Diego Simeone, Atlético Madrid coach: “I can’t criticize the players. There are always mistakes, but they gave their all. Madrid have a very good direct style. Their transitions from defense to attack are quick and they are extraordinarily clinical. I like that. They are organized in defence, they counter-attack, they take their chances. It’s a great job from the coach. They have players who are good on the ball and they also work defensively. Valverde and Vinicius, with the talent of Kroos and Modric. But I think we have always been in the game.”

Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal: “We are very happy. We came here to win. I think we played a very good first half, especially the first 30 minutes, we took our two chances. In the second half, we didn’t have not as much ball for We were comfortable at 0-2 It got more complicated at the end but they are three points away.

Atletico Madrid Goalkeeper: Jan Oblak: “It leaves a bad taste. We lost the derby, we lost a very important game. I don’t think we were that bad, we didn’t deserve the loss, but that’s football, they took a chance and we didn’t. The feeling is always bad when you lose. We’re all sad.

Key stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)

  • Antoine Griezmann has made his first start of the season with Atlético Madrid. Before that, Griezmann had come off the bench in each of his first seven appearances this season in all competitions.

  • Rodrygo scored his third La Liga goal this season. In the 2021-22 La Liga season, Rodrygo has only scored four goals.

  • Atletico Madrid have not come back to beat Real Madrid in any competition when they trailed at no time since the 2018 UEFA Super Sup when they trailed 2-1 before winning 4-2 in extra time .

  • Real Madrid lead La Liga with 18 points as the only side in Europe’s top five leagues to have won all of their league games this season.

  • Real Madrid opened the season with nine consecutive wins in all competitions for the first time since 1968-69 when they won a club-record 11 consecutive games to open the season, tied with 1961-62.


Atlético Madrid: Atletico will have less than seven days to prepare for their trip to Sevilla, taking on Julen Lopetegui’s side on Saturday, October 1 at 12.30pm ET.

Real Madrid: Los Blancos will return to the comfort of the Bernabeu on Sunday, October 2 when they host Osasuna at 3pm ET.