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Feb 7, 2014

Marcelo speaks out on racist abuse

Real Madrid full-back Marcelo says he is "stronger than any sort of racism" and any chants directed at him and his son after Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semifinal first-leg win over Atletico Madrid will "never affect" him or his family.

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As Marcelo took part in a short warm-down session on the Santiago Bernabeu pitch after Madrid had won the game 3-0, monkey noises were heard coming from the top north corner of the stand where around 500 Atletico fans were still waiting for permission to leave. Other chants were also apparently directed at the player’s son, who was also on the pitch after the match.

The incident was first highlighted by ESPN FC’s Graham Hunter, and then picked up by various media outlets -- first in Britain and then eventually in Spain.

The Brazil international, who tweeted after Wednesday’s game without making any reference to the abuse, returned to the social network site the following evening to post a message in Spanish, English and Portuguese thanking those who offered their support during the day, while saying that he and his family are strong enough to ignore the abuse.

La Liga clubs whose supporters are found guilty of racist abuse can be fined up to 60,000 euros and have their ground closed for subsequent games.

The Spanish football authorities are now slowly adopting a stronger stance, predominantly by punishing individuals who are shown by video evidence to have been involved. Neither Madrid nor Atletico have commented on the incident.

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