Pep Guardiola has urged Spanish football to follow the Premier League’s example in the fight against racism after the abuse suffered by Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior.
Brazil winger Vinicius said Spain now “belongs to racists” after he was abused by fans during Real’s game at Valencia in La Liga last week.
It is not the first time Vinicius has been the victim of racism and the latest incident has triggered widespread criticism of Spanish football culture and the way their authorities handle the issue.
Manchester City boss Guardiola believes the Premier League has set an example to the rest of the football world with their “strict” reaction to any outbreaks of racist abuse.
Asked if Spain could learn from the way English football has tackled racism since the dark days of the 1980s, Guardiola said: “They should. Here they are so strict. They know what they have to do.”
While the Spanish game has suffered a high number of racist incidents in recent years, Guardiola acknowledges the problem is not just limited to his homeland.
“Of course racism is a problem everywhere, not just in one specific place. Everywhere we have people thinking we are better than our neighbours, we are better than the other ones, for all generations everywhere,” he said.
“Not just for gender but for colour, for attitudes. We believe that our language is better than the other one, our country is better than the other one.
“We need to accept the diversity as a strength and still right now, we are far away from that.”
As a former Barcelona manager who also played for the Catalan giants for more than a decade, Guardiola fears it will hard to completely erase racism from La Liga.
“Hopefully it can be one step to getting better in Spain but I’m not optimistic. I know a little bit the country and I’m not really optimistic,” he said.
“There are a lot of black people stepping forward to defend what they should not have to defend.
“Hopefully justice can help to do it but in the same time is it going to change anything in Spain?”