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Atletico Madrid supporters have targeted Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior with racial abuse ahead of Thursday's Copa del Rey meeting between the two rivals. A banner reading "Madrid hates Real" was unfurled near Ciudad Deportiva and the inciteful text was accompanied by a large doll being hung by its neck. The figure was wearing the white kit of Real and had Vinicius Junior's name and number on the back. The star attacker has a history of being the victim of racial abuse during his time in Spain. The Brazilian international was targeted by Atleti supporters when the two teams met earlier this season.

The text on the banner, hanging above the doll, is one of the slogans used by a known group of Atleti ultras that has displayed similar banners over the years. Atletico issued an official statement condemning the behavior, saying "these are repugnant and inadmissible acts that shame society."

"The rivalry between the two clubs is the greatest, but so is respect," read the statement. "No individual, whatever their intentions or colors, can tarnish the coexistence between different supporters. It is everyone's responsibility to avoid this.

"Club Atletico de Madrid communicates that such acts are absolutely repugnant and inadmissible and shame society. Our condemnation of any act that attacks the dignity of persons or institutions is categorical and unreserved. The rivalry between the two clubs is the greatest, but so is respect. No individual, whatever their intentions or colors, can tarnish the coexistence between different supporters. It is everyone's responsibility to avoid this. We do not know the perpetrator or perpetrators of this despicable act, but their anonymity does not avoid their responsibility. We hope that the authorities succeed in clarifying what happened and that justice helps to banish this type of behavior."

La Liga have also issued a statement calling for an investigation into the incident and punishment for any guilty offenders successfully identified. 

"La Liga strongly condemns acts of hatred and intimidation against Vinicius Junior," the statement said. "La Liga, as in the past, will press for an investigation into the matter by relevant state security forces and bodies, seeking convictions for those responsible and requesting the most severe sentences."

Similar banners have appeared around the Spanish capital since the Copa del Rey quarterfinal draw pitted these two rivals against each other. Banners were removed from public view as recently as Wednesday but nothing was deemed as serious as this latest act of provocation.