Police have arrested seven people on suspicion of hanging a mannequin in a Vinicius Jr shirt from a Madrid bridge.
Vinicius Jr was subjected to vile racist abuse in Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Valencia. But detectives – who have been hunting the supporters who hung a blow-up Vinicius lookalike doll with a noose round its neck off the bridge ahead of his team’s January 26 Copa del Rey quarter-final against Atletico de Madrid – were said to have identified six members of a right-wing fan group of Real Madrid’s arch-rivals earlier this year.
Confirming the arrests, a Spanish National Police spokesman in Madrid said: “National Police officers have arrested seven people in Madrid as the suspected authors of a hate crime for hanging a mannequin with Vinicius’ shirt from a bridge. Three of the detainees are active members of a radical Madrid club fan group.
“The mannequin appeared next to a 16-metre banner on the bridge which said ‘Madrid hates Real’ near Real Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground hours before a derby match. The investigation began on January 26.
“The inquiries carried out up to now by investigators through DNA evidence, evidence from witnesses and other intelligence material led to the identification of four males as the alleged authors. Officers discovered three belonged to an ultras organisation and had already been identified during previous high-risk match by police operatives seeking to prevent sporting violence.
“They were arrested in an operation carried out which was coordinated with Madrid’s Court of Instruction Number 38 and a prosecution cyber-crimes section.”
It was not immediately clear if the four men, whose ages and names have not been made public, would appear in court on Tuesday or Wednesday. Footage released by police showed some of the suspects being marched into police stations in handcuffs.
A spokesman for Spain’s National Police in Madrid said around the time of the February reports on the ongoing investigation: “The investigation into the incident in which an effigy of Vinicius Jr was hung from a bridge in Madrid last month is still being probed.
“We are not in a position to comment on the El Confidential report.”